This pandemic has turned the world and our lives upside down. But it won’t dissipate the spirit of Christmas. There will be less church goers attending Mass and services because government has restricted physical presence to 30 percent capacity. Office parties are limited to small groups and families are encouraged to tone down big gatherings. But the spirit of Christmas isn’t just about dressing up to go to church or partying with officemates or enjoying noche buena with relatives, friends and neighbors. The most important things about the spirit of Christmas are the love we share in our heart, the joy of celebrating the Lord’s coming and the hope of a better tomorrow with God’s grace.
There are 10 thoughts that come to mind as Christmas Day beckons.
• Prepare for the best of times and the worst of times .Life is fleeting. Our existence is transitory. Let’s make the most of our stay on earth. Don’t waste precious hours moping, sulking or being bitter about a sad state of affairs. Let’s be ready mentally, emotionally and physically to cope with whatever comes our way.
• Closer to God in prayer . If there’s one good thing about this pandemic, it’s the opportunity of finding time to reflect on what’s meaningful in life. On a personal note, my wife and I have become even closer to the Lord. We now hear Mass and say the rosary every day. It’s an uplifting feeling to be spiritually connected to the Man upstairs.
• Appreciate your family, friends and neighbors . If we’ve neglected showing how we appreciate our loved ones in the past, this pandemic opens the pathway to make up. A phone call, a video meeting, a text message or an email to express care and concern will go a long way to re-establish or reinforce relationships.
• Give of yourself to others. This doesn’t only mean material things. It also means time and effort to share with others. We could make this Christmas more special for the less fortunate. The spirit of Christmas is selfless love.
• Catch up with unfinished business.The holidays give us a chance to do things that we’ve put off, like clearing our closet, tidying the garage, reading the book with a few chapters to go, writing the letter we promised to a friend or relative abroad, cleaning the car, fixing the bike or making a list of priorities to do in the coming year.
•Adapt to the new normal .Let’s not resist what we need to do. Government has instituted measures to keep everyone safe and healthy. It’s not taking away our freedoms, it’s guiding us to avoid COVID-19 infection. Let’s wear a facemask and face shield when stepping out in public, be conscious of social distancing, stay clean by washing our hands frequently, take a bath upon arriving home from outdoors and sanitize items that may cause contamination. Conducting business or joining meetings on-line is now routine. The wave of the future is now.
•Don’t give up hope. Things will be better. Help is on the way with vaccines rolling out to protect us. God watches over us. Prayer is our healing weapon. Before long, we’ll be able to do what we used to do without fear of infection.
•Never let your guard down.The pandemic isn’t over. While we’re hoping that the crisis will soon end, let’s be mindful that we’re not out of the woods. Let’s continue to be cautious and vigilant.
• Pray for those in the line of fire. Let’s continue to pray for the medical and security frontliners. They’re out there risking their lives for us. Let’s also pray for the sick, the families coping with losses and our government officials to lead with honesty, sincerity and selflessness.
•Embrace the spirit of Christmas. Traditions will never change because traditions are rooted in history, family, values and customs. Pandemic or no pandemic, we will celebrate Christmas and rejoice in the birth of our Lord. What’s inside our heart is what counts. It’s the spirit that keeps us hoping, praying and knowing that with God in our lives, there will be better times ahead.
Merry Christmas to one and all!
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