It’s Christmas once again.  It’s a joyful season since it is the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ who was sent by the Father to our world and to be one like us to be assured that the Covenant between Man and God will be fulfilled.  The birth of Jesus is Good News!  Jesus Christ is Good News!  He is our way to salvation and eternal life.

 However, typhoon Sendong came just days before Christmas and much damage had been done and many lives were lost.  One of my good friends, Rexy Ramos Pador (1974-2011), died in the calamity.  He did not expect that his life could end before Christmas and in this way.  More than a thousand more lives were lost in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan Cities due to the flash floods.  Was it God’s will or due to the human greed of illegal logging and mining?

 The survivors had nothing except themselves now packed in the evacuation areas that have no facilities for thousands of people.  They have no food, no water, no clothing, no footwear and no house to go back to.  Help and donations were sent for the victims.  Even the prisoners fasted to donate their food to the typhoon victims.  They also gave the little that they have by way of solidarity.  Small children gave their little savings for the victims too.  So much love and generosity were showered on the victims.  I just hope that the money sent by foreign countries and local government units really all reach the victims.  I guess with the big amount of cash donations, it will be enough to make each family of the victims own a simple house in a small lot.  I sincerely hope that the cash donations truly reach the victims of the typhoon.

Whatever happens, Christmas is here.  We celebrate the birthday of Jesus.  Even if there is sadness in our hearts due to the deaths and loss of properties, Christmas is Christmas.  Even the victims who have lost almost all, they could still smile and greet others a Merry Christmas!  In spite of economic difficulties, we prepare gifts for family and friends because the birthday celebrant is happy if we give gifts to each other.

What could be God’s message for us in this event?  I was thinking…  Perhaps God is reminding us not to focus on things as these are only temporary.  And for those who have contributed to the denuding of our forest and the changes in our land topographies that easily caused the flash floods, I hope they are truly sorry for what they did and make amends.

We could work and work for money to have properties – house, appliances, furniture, car, etc. to live a comfortable life.  That is good.  However, we realize that these can be taken any time.  Even our lives are no longer secure.  Bad elements in society, natural calamities and accidents could make us lose all.  What then is more important?  What could last for eternity?  I believe it’s the love that we have, the good things that we did or do; the good and right relationships that we hold and maintain.  These are the things that last forever and bring us to the eternal paradise of God’s home.  We are pilgrims and passers-by in this world.  Our place in God’s home is secured because Jesus was born to us to save us.  Jesus is the Good News to humankind.  The challenge is for us to be good news to others starting with our family.  This is our best birthday gift to Jesus.

Let us rejoice and thank the Father for Christmas!  Let us thank Mary and Joseph for saying Yes to God’s plan.  Can we also say our YES to the Lord?

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year of prosperity and success for all. I wish you good health, the courage and inspiration to follow Jesus and make our world a better place to live in.

Estrella (Star) del Mar


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