Normally, we do not ask the question “How will I celebrate Christmas?” It is usually, “where” or “with whom” will we celebrate that is asked. The “how” is taken for granted because we normally celebrate the same way we do each year – reunion with loved ones, with lots of food and drink, Mass with family, visits to relatives, etc.


But this year is different. The entire year is totally unique from the past 100 Christmases! We have experienced a year of tribulations, both as Filipinos and as citizens of the world. No other year has been marked by hardships, death, fear, anger, boredom, isolation, sickness, immobility, loss of so many things from jobs to business to opportunities.


The pandemic caused by COVID 19 which started before Lent has stretched towards Christmas this year. Practically we experienced all the liturgical seasons at home, before computer or phone screens or in front of the television. We “watched” Lent and Holy Week happen. We “watched” Easter. We “watched” the feast days and the ordinary time. Some of us still had to “watch” Simbang Gabi and Christmas this year.


Remember, God is greater than any challenge in our world and in our lives. His mercy overflows and will not be defeated by any calamity or pandemic. There is reason to celebrate Christmas, even with a difference. How will I celebrate the birthday of my Lord Jesus this year?


First, with thanksgiving. The fact is, I am a survivor of this extreme experience! People got sick and people died. People went into depression and some even lost their minds, unable to cope. The Lord Jesus has given me the strength to be patient, to push on, to hang on, to believe in the future. Most important of all, I get this chance to reflect on the greatest love of all – God the Father sending his Son Jesus to the world to be our Savior! In the midst of all the drastic changes this year, Jesus still comes to my life and to the lives of all of us this year. This Christmas, I thank the Lord: “Thank you, Jesus for being with me always.”


Second, with compassion. This year, as I witnessed the sufferings of people around me, I realized that I am blessed. There were so many people whose pain was unbearable and great. I learned to pray for them, to connect with them at least spiritually. I prayed for the sick and the dying, the frontliners, the displaced, and the poor. When I could, I tried to to share what little I could to help others with their needs. This Christmas, I will continue to show compassion to others by trying my best to make people around me smile on Christmas day.


Third, with mercy. Jesus has shown me his mercy! And his mercy is not just synonymous with compassion as mentioned above. Jesus’ mercy is complete; beyond mere emotions. It if forgiveness, concern, kindness, solidarity, fraternity, listening, embrace, and even crying with others. Only Jesus can do all those things for people. But by his grace, I can do one or two gestures of mercy towards others this Christmas time.


Will you consider celebrating Christmas this year with thanksgiving, compassion and mercy, too?


Please listen to the music below and reflect on the grace of a “different” kind of Christmas this year. MALIGAYANG PASKO PO! MERRY CHRISTMAS, DEAR READER OF THIS BLOG! Will you click the “follow” or subscribe button on this page to show appreciation for this blog?



Please share with a friend… photo above is from the internet; thanks!