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THE GOD WHO GROWS Why do we honor the Santo Niño? To honor the Christ Child is to pay attention to the process of our own human life. To honor Him who became human like us is to find God in the ordinary events of our lives. To honor Jesus the Child is to learn how to grow graciously in the eyes of God and neighbor. 1 Jesus learned to grow from childhood into maturity. The Sto. Nino is God depicted as a child. Remember though, that He grew up to become a mature man. He did not stay a child forever but slowly He acquired the habits, attitudes and traits of a man with a purpose and a mission. It is our greatest mistake to consider the Sto Nino as only and perpetually a child. The purpose of the Sto Nino is to challenge the child in us to grow into the full maturity God expects us to reach. To be mature is to accept the pain of the Cross but also to embrace the glory of the Resurrection. 2 Jesus learned to grow within the atmosphere of a family. Every child needs a family. In fact, every person, young and old, needs a family. Jesus was blessed to have the Holy Family as His very environment. Surely the support of His mother Mary and His foster father, St. Joseph, helped Jesus develop Himself to His fullest potential. Sadly, not all families are happy, supportive, warm families. To have a devotion to the Sto. Nino is to consecrate our families, pray for our families before God. It is to welcome our families, in spite of defects and difficulties, and help transform them into the image of the very family of God. As we honor Jesus’ childhood, let us pray for all children and all people who need the nurture and love of a family. 3 Jesus learned to grow in His appreciation of work. As a child, Jesus was exposed to the conditions of ordinary people. His family was a working class family. Joseph earned a living by carpentry. Mary was a faithful and tireless homemaker for Jesus and Joseph. As a child, Jesus sanctified work by working with His parents in the shop and in the home. It is amazing to see how Filipinos dress up the images of the Sto. Nino – as a simple child, yes, but also as a doctor, policeman, fireman, teacher. Most of these remind us of our own occupations. That means that we believe that God is present in whatever we do to survive, to live decently. Each year we honor Jesus as the Child. May we see that this devotion is an invitation to grow in our lives. Like Jesus, may we grow to maturity, may we grow in families, may we grow in appreciation of human work and labor. Amen.