Our “Bestest” Gift of Christmas

Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 30 December 2019

Photo by Mr. Jim Marpa, Carigara, September 2019.

Today we conclude our series on the best Christmas gifts we have received following Christ’s coming more than 2000 years ago: the gift of childhood, of being child-like.

What a joy to keep in mind how God the Almighty chose to become human like us to show us that the path to true greatness and power is in becoming small like an infant, being like a child.

How foolish that we always “play” God to be great and powerful!

The central mystery of Christianity is our transformation from world-wise, self-sufficient “adults” into abiding children of the Father of Jesus by the grace of the Holy Spirit. All else in the Gospel, from the Incarnation of the Lord to his hidden and public lives, his miracles and preaching, his Passion, Death and Resurrection has been for this, of becoming like a child.

The late Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar, “Unless You Become Like this Child” (1991, Ignatius Press)

The child-like attitude of Jesus Christ

The best gift we can have this Christmas is to be child-like, to regain and reclaim our sense of childhood, of attending to that “inner child” within us when we trust more, believe more!

Photo by Mr. Jim Marpa, Carigara, September 2019.

See how Jesus Christ entrusts himself not only to his Father but most of all to us!

That is the touching message of the Nativity scene, of how our Lord and God, the King of kings through whom everything was created giving himself to us like a baby, asking us to love him, to take care of him, to be gentle with him, to protect and keep him safe from all harm.

And the key to claiming this great gift of being like a child is for us to learn again how to trust more and fear less like Jesus who showed us by example, not only with words his being child-like.

His constant acknowledgement of God his Father always speaking and doing his will tells us how Jesus from childhood into is adulthood remained like a child by entrusting his total self to God, reaching its highest point on the Cross when he cried out, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Lk.23:46).

Trust more, fear less

To be like a child according to the example of Jesus Christ is to always trust God and others, and fear less.

Like us, Jesus experienced fears, getting afraid of death but unlike us, he courageously faced death by trusting the Father by “resolutely” going to Jerusalem to be crucified!

When the days for his being taken up were fulfilled, Jesus resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.

Luke 9:51

It is normal to have fears, to be afraid.

Fear is not totally negative; it has its good effects that have actually led mankind to every great progress in life like the discovery of new lands and territories, new medicines, new inventions and other things. 

Fear becomes a liability when it prevents us to trust more like little children. 

Photo by Mr. Jim Marpa, 2018.

Kids and young people are often “positively” fearless because they trust so much nobody would hurt them or no one would forsake them. 

As we age, our fears increase because our trust decreases:  we fear so many things because we are afraid of losing the little we have, we are afraid of getting hurt, we are afraid of starting all over again.

We are afraid of getting old, of getting sick, and of dying. 

What an irony how we started in life fearing almost nothing as babies and kids that we grew up so fast but as we aged and matured, we fear so many things that we have stopped growing and stopped living even long before we actually die.

The other day, December 28, we celebrated “Niños Innocentes” or “Holy Innocents” to remember those male children below two years old ordered killed by King Herod for fears of the “newborn king of Israel.” 

Herod lived in constant fears of being deposed in power that he ordered the killing of his three sons and ten wives after suspecting them of trying to overthrow him.

We may not be like Herod with the way we react with our many fears but like him, we end up with same effects like death of friendships, death of love, death of everything, the end of life and adventure.

Maybe that explains why somehow as we get older, we “mellow” and become like children again, realizing we cannot control everything in life, that it is always best to act than to react in every situation.

Do not miss out this great gift of Christmas of becoming like a child.

Trust Jesus Christ who called on us not to be afraid for he is with us always!

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