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CHRISTMAS, GREATEST EVENT IN CHRISTENDOM: As I was thinking about what to write for this column just one day before Christmas 2009, I browsed over the articles I wrote in December 1995 for an English tabloid called “Metro Sun”, and got surprised that whatever I wrote then still have complete relevance 12 years later. May I share one of these articles for Christmas 2009:
“ It is just three days away from Christmas. Are we ready to celebrate this once-a-year event which, in all Christendom, is the greatest event of all, barring of course the Resurrection? There are of course a lot of ways to celebrate Christmas but, I think, celebrating it as simply as you can would be the best way.
“When I was still a young boy, I remember quite clearly that, in my town in Ramos, Tarlac, my parents, particularly my mother (Salvacion Lazo Mauricio of Vigan, Ilocos Sur), insisted on remembering Christmas with a least one new suit for each of us in the family, and with a gathering of all of us during the noche Buena, even if meant getting a salary loan from the GSIS drawn against three months of her salary as a teacher.
"She also insisted on me and my brothers hanging our Christmas socks by the window on Christmas eve, saying that Santa Claus would surely drop by and give us presents.
CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS MEANS KEEPING HOPE ALIVE: “It was of course a practise generally frowned upon by many of our boyhood friends then, and, many a time, I too felt it was down right silly.
“But my mother insisted on it, and so year in and year out hang our socks me and my brothers (our lone sister was not born yet at that time) did, until we got to enjoy doing it many years later.
“Looking back at this point, I think I now know why my mother insisted on this practise. Somehow, this kept our hopes alive---hopes for a better life and better future, hopes for a better relationship with our relatives and all others, hopes that every good deed we would do would be rewarded at the proper time.
“Admittedly, this hoping pulled us through even during the darkest and most trying moments in our lives then. For me I realized that I had to continue hoping if I were to be able to break free from the poverty gripping me and my family then...
FINDING OF THE CHILD JESUS AT THE TEMPLE: The fifth and the last Joyful Mystery of the Holy Rosary, called “finding of the Child Jesus at the Temple”, depicts the joy of the greatly-bothered Joseph and Mary upon finding the boy Jesus, then aged 12 years old, at the Temple in Jerusalem.
Basically, Jesus was left behind by his parents who, not knowing that Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, proceeded to return home after their family attended the Feast of the Passover (an annual Jewish holiday that seeks to remind the Jews of how God freed them from their slavery in Egypt).
Realizing that Jesus was not with them while they were returning home, Joseph and Mary spent three days going back to Jerusalem and searching for Him.
Found in Luke 2:41 to 51 of the Bible, the account of this event in Jesus’ life shows once more the divinity of Jesus, and His having been in possession of a great amount of learning over and beyond what a boy of His age would normally have.
“Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers,” the Bible says, in effect confirming Jesus was not an ordinary man.
And when He told Joseph and Mary that they should not be searching for Him because He had to be in His Father’s house, it was a reaffirmation of His status as the Son of God, something that was already announced earlier by Gabriel, the angel who walks in the presence of God (Luke 1:35).
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