Last December 17, 2015 I went to Oasis of Prayer for my monthly renewal of myself with the help of my counselor who is a priest. During our conversions, he asked me a question; who is “Alex” for you now? I suddenly felt the uneasiness within my heart because the question was referring to my understanding about myself despite the many flaws and shortcomings I have. Indeed, it was a burning question for my present state. In spite of many preoccupations and activities this coming Christmas, it is really important to find time for yourself and asking that question raised by my counselor to me. Hence, Christmas is not just only a season of sharing, but also a season of renewing ourselves with the Lord. As I reflect that question, I realized, there are so many things in my life that I am not aware, I ignored, and I avoided which needs to be consider, to let go, to be forgiven, and to renew. That’s why I was not able to post a Christmas reflection on my blog last Thursday.
As we wait for Christmas with joy, hope, and expectations; we should not forget that together with our waiting for the coming of the Lord is our renewal. It’s nice and meaningful to celebrate Christmas with renewed and peaceful mind and heart. The nearing natal day of our Lord Jesus reminds us that renewal is possible if and only if we allow ourselves to be renewed by the real essence of Christmas, i.e. love. Allow me to ask this question; do you really spend time to ask yourself ‘how are you today’ or ‘what’s going on to me today’ in moment of silence and recollection? I admit, it’s really hard to be what we must supposed to be in the merciful and compassionate eyes and heart of God. I myself can attest on this. I cannot count anymore how many times I fail the Lord. Many times I allow myself to be overcome by my weaknesses and not by His love and mercy. So, I always feel guilty, doubtful, and cynical whenever I am being overwhelmed by lapses. It’s not too easy, but the Lord still kind and forgiving because He still gives opportunities for change. And, the nearing Christmas season is a great manifestation of it.
Hence, let’s always remember that Christmas is not just only a season for gifts and celebrations. It is also a season for forgiveness, mercy, and renewal. The Lord in the person of the Baby Jesus born in a manger invites us to renew ourselves to Him. He knows is not too easy to renew ourselves because we are finite-capable of committing mistakes and lapses in life. But still, He encourages us to move on, to love ourselves more, and to forgive ourselves with mercy and compassion simply because He wants us to really feel that Christmas is all about loving and forgiving ourselves as He also loves and forgives us with His gentle mercy and compassion.