Merry Christmas, Yes?

MANILA: Behold your life in this Christmas tree!
As in the last few days, everyone will be wishing everybody else "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!" especially tomorrow, 25 December 2015, Christmas Day. (If you don't believe in God or Christmas? "Happy Holiday!" is empty. You're missing on Christianity spread out wide splendidly.)
You don't find gifts under this tree. No. I have never been into exchanging Christmas gifts, except in grade school and high school. I have never been showy of my love and at 76, I'm not going to start now.
The image above, borrowed from Naldz Graphics (jes2015images.tk), is here for a reason, and Christ is the lesson for the season. Look at the zigzag route and you find your life described; it's not one zoom to the top but zigs and zags to the left and right. Life is what you make it, and you learn along the way if you're paying attention.
Look at the zenith of that Christmas tree and you find a star with a halo around it – that would be Jesus when he was born and laid in a manger in Bethlehem because there was no room for the family in the inn and Mary the mother had just given birth to a baby boy. The 3 wise men had followed that star from the East, which led them to the newborn king.
The top star is drawn exactly like the shape of the Christmas star I used to make out of bamboo and Japanese paper and hang just outside the window when I was studying in my hometown of Asingan in eastern Pangasinan in Central Luzon. When electricity came to town, when I was already in high school, more than 50 years ago, that was when I put an electric bulb inside that Christmas star for it to shine brightly throughout the night. From within our house, I looked at that star with pride and joy. I was sharing my happiness.
Does your personal Christmas star shine brightly throughout the night – and throughout the day? Do you look at it with both pride and joy?
We are going to hold an extended-family Christmas Party at Balay Indang in Cavite tomorrow, Christmas Day, courtesy of Jomar, my eldest son, who is the Philippines' Internet Marketing Guru. (You might want to read his book Virtual Careers, published in September 2015 by Kerygma Books, kerygmabooks.com, as I'm sure it will open your eyes to the many possibilities of people working at home, if not you, someone you love. The subtitle of the book says it all: "Earn Dollars at Home. Eliminate Daily Stress. Embrace Your Family More.")
Yes, tomorrow is family. I think that whenever you celebrate, it must be extended family, whether it's Christmas or not. You share the blessings that have come your way.
Which is the point of this essay.
Have you reached the point in your life when you realize that you make people happy only during the Christmas season?
Yes, you wish them a Merry Christmas, sincerely and graciously, but have you stopped to think this?
When you give love on Christmas, and on Christmas day only, you don't give love at all!
Christ is the lesson for the season. What do I mean by that? That he was born to redeem us from our sins? Yes, Christ the Redeemer. But more than that, he was born to show love. Christ the Lover. All the way. From Day One to Day End.
Here is Matthew 22: 36-40:
"Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Now then, if Christ is the lesson of Christmas, what is the lesson of Christ? I already said Love.
Now, if you give love on Christmas Day, you are fulfilling the law. If you give love on this one day only, what about the next 364 days of the year?
The question is, how do you give love on Christmas Day and the rest of the year, this one and the next?
How can you say you love?
If you do not forgive, how can you say you love?
If you do not give, how can you say you love?
If you give only from your excess, how can you say you love?
If you do not give because you have only so much, how can you say you love?
If you do not receive, how can you say you love?
If you do not forget, how can you say you love?
If you keep on lying, how can you say you love?
If you keep on taking advantage of others, how can you say you love?
If you keep on using others for your own purposes, how can you say you love?
If you keep on back-biting, how can you say you love?
If you do not obey the Ten Commandments, how can you say you love?
If you do not obey your parents, how can you say you love?
If you do not obey the Church, how can you say you love?
If you do not play fair in your business, how can you say you love?
If you do not give people what is due them, how can you say you love?
If you lie to get what you want, how can you say you love?
If you always want to prove that you are right, how can you say you love?
If you try to destroy others so that you will come out on top, how can you say you love?
If you value justice more than mercy, how can you say you love?
If you do not take the low road but always choose the high road, how can you say you love?

If you do not love, how can you say you're happy?



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