How I wish that the Biblical Christmas story would come to the same happy conclusion as school Nativity plays, leaving me with a warm, fuzzy feeling! In contrast, however, the Biblical Christmas story continues with some scenes that leave me feeling sad and disturbed. I watch distraught parents with their small child, fleeing their homeland because it has become wracked by violence. I realize that Mary and Joseph had not planned or prepared their escape route. However, when they learn that Herod and his militia want to kill their child, they are left with no option but to cross the border into Egypt under the cover of darkness.
Herod’s threat is not an empty one: “he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old or younger.” (Mt 2:16) Indeed, Herod is so cruel that it is thought preferable to be his pig than to be his son! Joseph, Mary and Jesus, therefore, remain as refugees in Egypt until they hear of his death. (Mt. 2:15) This Christmas I hear this same disturbing story echoed everywhere around me. Thousands of people in the Ukraine, Honduras, Syria and El Salvador, are desperately seeking a safe haven from violence in their homeland...
Here in the Philippines, I normally hear my first Christmas carol around September each year. As soon as the monsoon season, with its typhoons and floods, begins to taper off, people start looking forward to Christmas.
By the time October comes, the joyful strains of Christmas carols are heard...
A Filipino Christmas
Gracious, loving and merciful God, we open ourselves up to your Spirit this holy season and give you thanks. We are grateful, Lord Jesus, that your story has become our story, and we celebrate your birth. As you chose the lowly, the outcasts, and the poor to receive the greatest news the world had ever known
The Christmas season is upon us once again!
We once again open our hearts and minds to the Light, the Wisdom and the Humility of Our Savior.
Here in the Philippines the Christmas season...