Goodbye and Thank You 2015; Hello 2016 :)

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My year 2015 was really a challenging and perplexing year for me.  I experienced a lot of pitfalls, pains, regrets, discouragements, inconsistencies, and stress although I also experienced a lot of realizations, moving on, successes, and accomplishments.  Indeed, my life last 2015 was like a TV series with 365 episodes which also includes a lot of surprises, a lot of twists and turns, nostalgias, and astonishments.  However, my year 2015 was still a blessing for me even though challenging and perplexing.

What I really cherished in my year 2015 was I moved on and I let go even though there’s a need for improvement.  It’s really hard and painful to learn to move on and to let go, but I did it.  How?  Acceptance, patience, surrendering, believing.  Four things that I’ve learned in 2015 which became very significant in my journey towards fulfilment.  These four things made me realize that life is not all about conquering our daily struggles, but befriending it.  Henceforth, I moved on and I let go because I accept that I am weak, but loved; I forgive myself and other patiently even if it hurts; I surrender to God all of my fears, my plans, ambitions, desires, and even the one that I really love most; and I started to believe that these will lead me to achieve what I yearn most, i.e. peace of mind and heart.

2015 has now reach its end, so welcome 2016.  For this year, I have three New Year’s Resolutions; (1) That I may continue to move on and let go with no hesitations in my mind and heart, (2) That I may learn how to love with all sincerity, seriousness, and trust, and (3) That I may really achieve peace of mind and heart despite the many setbacks, failures, and shortcoming I will be still encountering in my life’s journey.  I know these sounds hard to accomplish.  I pray that God may help me to achieve these three New Year’s resolutions possibly.

For those who follow my blog site, read, liked and commented my write-ups, and appreciated my insights and personal stories, a million thanks to all of you.  Because of your appreciations, I am humbled and also encouraged to write more.  Please continue to support my blog site and help me also to be more consistent, concise, and compelling.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

It’s Christmas!

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It’s Christmas!  The most wonderful time of the year has now arrived.  Our excitements are now filled with joy and presence of the Baby Jesus born in a manger.  Happiness is now overwhelming because God-is-with-us in the person of the Baby named Jesus.  The light has now shines upon us, giving us hope and reason for celebrating Christmas with firm conviction and enthusiasm to hope towards a prosperous life.

As we now experiencing the wonder of this grace-filled event, we ask the Baby Jesus to bless and guide us this Christmas and also help us to renew ourselves to Him for this coming New Year.  May He be our source of joy and happiness in our lives always.  May this Christmas also be the spring of love and prosperity in our hearts and in our daily struggles in life.  MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!         

A Love Letter for Baby Jesus

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Dearest Baby Jesus,

One day to go before your birth. I cannot but feel more excited and cheerful for your coming.  I could say that I do my very best to prepare myself for your coming, but it’s not enough.  Anyway, I truly believe that it’s not on the grandiosity of my preparation what you would like to count on in me, but it’s my heart.  No matter how big or small my preparation for your coming, what matters most for you is the willingness of my heart to be open with the possibility for renewal and conversion.

Within this month I really do my very best to embrace renewal and conversion in my life.  Sometimes I gain and improve, at times I fall short.  To embrace renewal and conversion in life is really a win-or-lose experience.  It takes a lot of enthusiasm, determination, and faith.  It’s challenging, yet gratifying.  Dear Child Jesus, I’m sorry for failing you and also for not doing the good things that I ought to do.  I’m sorry also for my stubbornness and for doubting your graces and blessings.  I’m really so ashamed to welcome you, but you proved to me that I should not be ashamed in welcoming you despite the many failures and shortcomings that I have.  You still love me.  It’s a humbling experience to realize that your love helps me to move on and comforts me whenever I am anxious and preoccupied with so many negative things in my life.  I am so blessed whenever I fall.  You always say to me “Be still…Do not be afraid for I am always with you”.  As you always saying this to me I am always assured of your presence in my life. And, knowing you is one of the greatest gifts that I in my life.

As your coming is almost near, Lord, teach me to love just like the way you show your love on me.  Make me a channel of your love even though I am being rejected because of love.  It’s your love that make me realize who really am I; broken and unworthy, yet consoled and redeemed.  Clothe me with the mantle of your love that I may be strengthen and motivated by it to face life’s challenges with a positive outlook in life.  Although uncontrollable sadness sometimes distresses me as I wait for your nearing natal day, make me happy and have an eager and a joyful trust in you.  May I also learn to lean and to count on you as I really struggle for peace and serenity of my mind and heart.

Lovingly yours,

Alex.

#ChristmaSerye (The Real Christmas Expectation)

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What do you expect this coming Christmas?  New clothes? New gadgets? Overnight parties? New love life?  For sure aside from these we have a lot of expectations as we wait for Christmas excitedly.  Usually, when Christmas comes we really expect to receive something new and pleasing to our senses and expectations.  So, there should be something new when Christmas comes.

However, is this really the real spirit of Christmas?  Looking and pondering upon the Nativity scene, it was just a simple and ordinary Christmas celebration.  They don’t expect for something new, but they expect for the birth of the Son of God; the main reason of our Christmas celebration.  Actually, the stable of Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, reminds us that the real spirit of Christmas is not all about expecting for something new, costly, extravagant, and appealing; but it’s all about renewing ourselves to the Son of God born in a manger, i.e. Jesus.  He gave us the gift which greater than what we expect, i.e. His life, His love, and His mercy.

So, what we are still expecting for if He must be the real reason of our waiting and expectations?  Indeed, the most important thing in our expectation is to realize that it’s Jesus whom should be the main reason of our Christmas celebrations.  Without his birth, perhaps it’s worthless and pointless to celebrate Christmas just a celebration itself.

#ChristmaSerye (Ang Pasko din ay Pag-ibig)

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I would like to dedicate this write-up for those who are looking for true love this Christmas. I apologize if I wrote this in Filipino, my native tongue.

Bakit kailangan ituring o isaalang-alang na ang Pasko din ay Pag-ibig?  Pero bago ko ito sagutin nais ko ulit magtanong; Sino ba ang may pakana ng Pasko?  Syempre ang sagot natin si Hesus na itinuturing natin natagapagligtas.  Pero, napagtanto n’yo na siya rin ang dahilan kung bakit ang Pasko din ay Pag-ibig?  Marahil napagtanto n’yo na ang ideya na iyon.  Kaya, sa patuloy kong pagninilay at paghihintay sa pagdating ni Hesus na isisilang sa sabsaban, ninais kong palalimin ang kahalagahan ng Pag-ibig sa Pasko.  Halos lahat ng awiting pamasko o di naman kaya mga kwento ng Pasko ay may kinalaman sa din sa Pag-ibig.  Pwede ba iyon na ang Pasko ay Valentine’s Day na rin?  Nakakatuwang nga naman isipin pero posible dahil hindi magkakaroon ng Pasko na siyang nagbibigay ng galak at kasayahan sa ating mga puso kung walang Pag-ibig.

Ang Pasko din ay Pag-ibig.  Dahil sa pag-ibig ng Diyos, ang Salita ay nagkalaman, nagkatawang-tao sa katauhan ni Hesus.  Ano ang ibig ipahiwatig ng Diyos sa atin?  Bilang mga nagagalak at naghihintay sa kanyang pagdating tayo ay kanyang iniimbitahan at hinahamon na maging tahanan ng kanyang pag-ibig ngayong darating na Pasko.  Kaya, ang tanong niya para sa atin ay ito; handa na ba ang puso mo magmahal na siya ring magiging sabsaban ni Hesus na isisilang?  Hindi talaga magiging makabuluhan ang Pasko kung hindi natin bibigyan halaga ang kahalagahan ng pag-ibig at pagmamahalan.  Ang pag-ibig ay hindi lamang mapapansin o madarama lamang sa mga taong nagmamahal sa atin o sa mga taong gusto natin mahalin.  Ito rin ay mapapansin o madarama sa kakayahan natin mahalin ang ating sarili o ang iba na di nagmamahal sa atin.  Kaya, ang tanong; Nagmamahal ka ba? Maka-Diyos ba ang iyong pagmamahal?  Naniniwala ka rin ba sa pag-ibig kahit nasasaktan, napapagod, nadarapa, o nawawalan ng pag-asa?  Hindi talaga biro ang magmahal.  Pero, kahit di biro ang magmahal, makabuluhan naman kung kaakibat sa ating pagmamahal ay si Hesus, ang Diyos ng Pag-ibig.

Ngayong darating na Pasko, ipanalangin natin na sana tayo’y kalugdan ng Batang Hesus, siyang isisilang sa sabsaban, ng pag-ibig. Sa pamamagitan ng kanyang pag-ibig, tayo nawa’y maging katulad Niya; nagmamahal ng walang kapalit at busilak ang puso’t damdamin.               

#ChristmaSerye (A Lesson learned form the Three Magi)

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One of my favorite scenes in the Nativity story is the bowing down of the Three Magi and giving their gifts in front of the Baby Jesus born in a manger.  From this scene, a question pops-up in my mind; what lesson could we learn about the Three Magi?

Reflecting about the role of the Three Magi in the Nativity story reminds me of an attitude that I must consider as I am preparing myself for the nearing natal day of Jesus, i.e. humility.  Being impressed, inspired, and challenged by the humility of the three Magi, it become clearer for me the message of St. Paul’s exhortation in his first letter to the Corinthians that Jesus is the Power of God and the Wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24).  At first, I find the bowing of Three Magi in front of the Baby Jesus ironic because they were considered wise, learned, and influential, and then without any hesitations they bowed down in front of a simple child born in a stable of Bethlehem, and not only that, they also presented their gifts to the child who was just an ordinary child.  But, as I am continuously pondering its message, I realized, this humbling expression of the Three Magi gives us an idea that Jesus is really an extraordinary person which even the Three Magi bowed down to Him because He is the Power of God that cannot be predisposed by the earth’s power, and the Wisdom of God that cannot be domineered or swayed by earth’s wisdom.  Yet, He humbled Himself and became like us.  He is God, but He chose to be in a form of a slave because He loves us so much and He cares for us.

What is the invitation of this for us?  It’s simple; it’s all about the significance of humility as our passage way for conversion.  The story of the Three Magi reminds us that through humility we will be able to recognize the significance of putting our trust and hope in Jesus who is full of mercy and love.  Without Him, it’s hard to live, it’s hard to be firm in our faith, and it’s hard to understand the beauty, the uniqueness, and the happiness of living with His presence this Christmas.

#ChristmaSerye (On Sharing our Blessedness this Christmas)

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Today is the Fourth Sunday of Advent and it indicates that Christmas is almost near.  Hearing that its four days to go before Christmas, we cannot but feel excited about it.  But, before we feel excited about the nearing natal day of Jesus, let us reflect upon the gospel for today which speaks about the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth.

Pondering the gospel for today, the word ‘blessed’ pops-up in my mind that suggests motivation or encouragement for us to welcome the Word made flesh humbly, joyfully, and wholeheartedly.  Mary gave us an example of how to welcome the Word made flesh with conviction, courage, and trust despite perhaps the hesitations and fears that tempt her to doubt the Lord’s plan for her unveiled through Angel Gabriel’s message in the Annunciation episode.  Filled with joy that in her womb is the Son of God conceived by the Holy Spirit, Mary shared this immense joy to her cousin Elizabeth who is also blessed by the Lord and pregnant at her old age.  What this visitation episode means for our lives? How should this be related to our daily lives?  We should affirm the fact that we are all blessed by the Word made flesh’s mercy and love.  But, we should be aware also that the gospel for today invites us to share our blessedness to others with joy and humility in our hearts.  Hence, the visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth reminds and invites us that the real spirit of Christmas is sharing our blessedness to others so that they too may experience their blessedness rooted in Christ’s love.

We pray that the Lord may grant us the grace to share our blessedness to others just like Mary did; she shared her blessedness to Elizabeth humbly, full of joy, and wholeheartedly.  May the Lord bless us all this coming Christmas.