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Anticipating Christmas

By: JASON BAGUIA December 22,2017 - 10:16 PM

BAGUIA

I look forward to these days.

The fourth Advent candle will be lighted as the sun sets tonight. This purple candle is the candle of love. Its lighting follows the lighting of the candles of hope, peace and joy.

We need more of these in our world.

The last Misa de Gallo will be offered tomorrow. We will have completed walking with the Virgin Mary throughout the nine months when she bore our Lord in her womb.

I was reminded of this through the song “Little Donkey,” a modern Christmas song in which the lyricist Eric Boswell imagines the donkey as the beast which our Blessed Mother rode in the long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

Unlike the grand stallion, the donkey is the ride of the poor, and the carol “Little Donkey” also brought to my mind the eventual entry of our Lord on an ass in the last week of his life before the Passion.

This is love. It comes with no frills but it can draw songs of praise from stones and children and angels. Earth and the innocent and spiritual beings cannot help but pay tribute to power that proves itself in its restraint, in glory that proves its authenticity by surrender, self-forgetfulness, servanthood.

A video advertisement brought me to tears today. It streamed online just before YouTube played a video of “Little Donkey.” The video tells the story of a boy whose parents worked abroad. Each year they sent him a package of presents for Christmas. The boy grew older. The gifts became more complex, growing from little toys to a laptop. In the last scene, the boy, or rather young man told his parents of his hope that his greatest Christmas wish would be granted this year: their homecoming. Cut to teary reunion at the airport and to the happy family scene at the restaurant.

One hopes that one day, advertisements like these do not have to be necessary. They mirror the reality of families where overseas work for parents has become a survival requirement. As we light the candle of love, let us pray that distance will not douse the bonds of family members and ask for that day when parents do not have to search far and away in conditions that many times would tax a donkey for the means with which to win bread for their home.

Advent ends at sunset tomorrow. Evening prayer opens the Christmas Season. At the Mass of the Angels or midnight Mass, each crib in every church in Cebu and throughout the world will be empty no longer. The image of the Christ-child will be laid in the manger. Before this, before the Gloria, someone will sing the Kalenda, the Proclamation of the Birth of Christ.

The song will awaken our senses and our faith to the continuity between the old stories of salvation history and the time of the Christ. How many years went by between Creation, the Flood, the journey of Abraham, the Exodus, the kingship of David… and the Nativity? Listen and be awestruck, and find in your own heart a crib for the Prince of Peace.

Christmas Day will come. Prepare for wonderful surprises, for the Lord’s visit, in everyone who visits you, and symbolically in the visit of the altar boys that will bring into each home the statue of the Holy Child. They call this ritual the Pax Tecum. Insight. We beg the Lamb of God to have mercy on us, and to grant us peace. He grants us himself.

And since the Incarnation and Christmas are in fact the beginning of the Passion of the Christ, for it must take suffering for God to become man, then we need not be upset that the second day of Christmas should celebrate the martyrdom of Saint Stephen. We ask after all in the Angelus that we by the Lord’s Passion and Cross may be brought to the glory of his resurrection. Saint Stephen a first to go through this passage to the risen life, which will be celebrated in the gospel of the third day of Christmas, the feast of the evangelist Saint John, wrote: The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

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TAGS: before, Christmas, Joy, life, play, youtube

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