A blessed Christmas greetings to all!
Last December 16, 2012, we Filipino Catholics started our traditional Simbang Gabi (Dawn Masses), which would end in December 24. This Simbang Gabi is also called our Novena Mass as we approach the celebration of the Birth of our Lord Jesus on December 25. On these days, the readings are concerned with our preparation in receiving the Lord in our lives.
And on this day, I would also like to start my daily blog entitled: “Simbang Gabi Chronicles“. It would be a nine-day sharing of my reflections and thoughts regarding the Gospel (not necessarily the homily of the priest). I invite you, dearest friends, to come and join with me to celebrate Christmas season, with Jesus as the reason of our joyful celebration!
Last December 16, 2012, the 3rd Sunday of Advent, is also the Gaudete Sunday. This Sunday invites us to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord – with joyful expectation in our hearts. The call for us is to “rejoice” in the Lord! Nope, this is not a brand of shampoo that we know, nor a mere party-party-like celebration. Instead, to rejoice in the Lord means to find in the Lord the meaning of our lives. Hence, a joyful attitude in this season is an attitude of finding newness in our faith – a sense of renewal and conversion. To rejoice in this sense, is not reduced to a mere emotion or a feeling. Rather, it calls us to a reflective composure that “there is something I can still discover about myself as I grow in faith in Jesus”.
One good observation on this reflection is that many people seem to lose meaning of what life is all about. We seem to content ourselves on the noises around us, thinking that to express our joy is to find opportunities to be noisy and loud. More often than not, however, our obsession of noise usually leads us away to know our true identity. Worst is that we become pessimistic of life, leading to depression, and sadly, leading to being bitter and suicidal. Come on, cheer up!
Cheer up! Be joyful because we are all God’s beloved. Indeed, it is true that we prepare ourselves for the Lord, but it is also true that we prepare ourselves for ourselves, too. Much as our Savior is called “Emmanuel” (God-with-us), so too we see ourselves as the image of the Emmanuel. He lives among us because He brings the promise of life, and therefore, we all have the reason to enjoy the life He promises to give us. There is something we need to do:
“What can we do to welcome the Emmanuel, the reason of our ‘cheering up’, in our lives?”