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Merry_Christmas Happy Holidays L
joey avellanaBy Joey Avellana, BCBP National President

The Voice of One calling in the desert…
Prepare the way of the Lord!

As we count the days to Christmas, we are now suddenly, even slightly panicky, facing the prospect of so many things still to do, and with so little time to get it done in time.

The Noche Buena menu will have to wait, as there are gifts still to be bought and wrapped.

Holiday shopping is no longer a pleasant experience as one is faced with long queues whether at the payment or wrapping counter.

And the most horrible thing of all— TRAFFIC!manila traffic

This is the time of year when you sit in traffic more hours in a day than you sleep at night!

This is Christmas in the Philippines. Masaya!

Juxtapose this with that surreal Nativity scene over 2,000 years ago when Jesus was born.

Stark. Quiet. Simple.

What a contrast, isn’t it?

Not quite the scene that we would have expected to attend the birth of the King of Kings, right?

And yet that beautiful and poignant image is the one that remains most vividly in our minds every year we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

In the midst of the squalor all around, the Baby Jesus was born to the world, with kings and angels in attendance, as well as shepherds and their flock.

But God provided the spotlight to announce the birth of His “gift to mankind”‘– the Star that shone brightly in the night, that led the 3 Kings to Bethlehem.

This surreal scene brings me to reflect on two messages that keep resonating in my head like a mantra.

The first message is this: LOVE fully live simply

For God so loved His people, that even if they kept disobeying His commands over and over, still He was moved to give His Own, to be the Savior, the deliverer of the sins of mankind, the Light of the World covered in darkness.

So too was the love of Mary total, first in surrender to the will of the Father, and then as sacred vessel for the baby Jesus, whom she loved completely throughout His life, ministry and passion and death.

And then there was St. Joseph– proper, obedient and loyal. He stood by Mary in her decision to follow God, and was the strong and loving Husband to her and father to Jesus all throughout his life.

We, the families of today, are called to be like the Holy Family.

Jesus loved us so much that He brought us to the BCBP, our faith family, if you wish.

He called us to the BCBP community so that we can be evangelized, transformed in our ways, and be men and women after His own heart, dedicated to bring the good news of salvation to those who need it.

And as we have received, He asks us, in love, to pay forward to others the blessings that we have received, so that this world will be lit up in joy and love.

The second message is: LIVE SIMPLY.

The modern world has certainly made life more exciting. Technology has brought modern conveniences that we used to only dream about 50 years ago. They say today, success is measured by the quality of life — and that is usually defined in material terms.

But the pursuit of success has ushered in new demons– a weakened morality; a warped sense of right and wrong; corruption and dishonesty; injustice, among many.

nativity sceneLet us be brave and bold. We need to hie back to our best defense– our faith in God and our commitment to follow Jesus. Let us strive to, as soldiers of Christ, defend our families and our world from the temptations of this age.

Let us be simple in our ways, not bringing attention to ourselves or keeping up to be “in” but rather comport ourselves in simplicity, trusting God and finding joy in His service.

This Christmastime, let us reflect on the Nativity scene, and let us appreciate and thank God, for everything that we are today and all that we will be tomorrow, came from that profoundly blessed event.

Happy Holidays to you and your families!

God bless the BCBP!

Joey Avellana
National President

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