The Lord Is My Chef Christmas Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II Christmas Eve, 24 December 2022 Isaiah 9:1-6 ><}}}}*> Titus 2:11-14 ><}}}}*> Luke 2:1-14
Christmas is the busiest season for us priests. How ironic that as we keep on reminding the people to prepare more on the spiritual aspect of this most loved season, we priests are also caught in all the rush and busyness of Christmas, beginning with the Simbang Gabi and Misa de Gallo and other parish concerns.
But, God gives us the grace to hurdle all difficulties of sleeping late, rising early and in between, praying as we prepare for our homilies. Thank you too for your appreciation and prayers for us priests. Forgive us when sometimes we get too touchy this week for lack of sleep.
As usual, I woke up early today to pray and prepare for Christmas but unfortunately, I felt like waking up on the wrong side of the bed, feeling grouchy. Most of all, so dried in prayer. Yet, God is so merciful after being silent before him before noon, I just felt writing this prayer interspersed with my reflections of the scriptures which I have been praying over since Wednesday.
Dearest sweet Jesus: I feel agitated. Or excited? So many things are coming and filling me at this moment; I could not be still to find you, to experience you. Come, Lord Jesus, So that I may share you with others! Let me be your Christmas too by being Your presence to others, myself as a gift and present especially to those grieving for the loss of a loved one during this difficult years of the pandemic; let me be your Christmas and presence, myself as a gift and present to those nursing fresh wounds or wounds that would not heal because they are so deep and painful; let me be your Christmas to those with nothing this Christmas Day except their very selves with that firm faith and fervent hope in you, Lord Jesus, by being small and fragile like you on the manger in Bethlehem.
How lovely is Luke’s presentation of the first Christmas, of Jesus Christ coming in a time of history that is so troubled, so inhospitable especially for children.
Just like today with this ongoing pandemic made worst by the many wars going on that have triggered so many other difficulties and sufferings, from poverty to homelessness. Yet, it is the most beautiful setting of Christ’s coming set at the background of many leaders feeling they are the savior of the world or of their country just like the Roman emperor at the time of his birth. In all their “larger than life” portrayal of themselves, there is Jesus Christ in the most ordinary yet powerful truth of God among us – coming as an infant, coming and starting small!
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of Bethlehem…with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.Luke 2:1-4, 5-7
We need not be famous nor have all the power and wealth to change this world. We all just have to be our true selves, little “earthlings” because in our being small when Jesus comes. We do not have to live in luxuries nor be in the cities or any country. Just be where we are, in our simplicity and humanity where Christ comes to fill us because he is God’s Firstborn in whom everything is created for him, with him and in him as St. Paul had noted.
Inasmuch as God believes in us by entrusting to us his Son Jesus Christ, let us believe also in God truly that he will work miracles in us, with us and through us! That is why Jesus came.
Let me be your Christmas to others, Jesus: I may not be able to wrap any gift this Christmas, let my arms and smiles wrap others in a hug so they may experience your warmth and loving presence; let me be your Christmas to others, Jesus, by sharing food, and being the food myself to those hungry and thirsty to give them strength not only in body but also in soul; I do not know how to bake cookies and other goodies but, still make me your Christmas to others by sharing your joy and kindness with them so we could have memories of my love no matter how imperfect it may be; most of all, dear Jesus, let me be your Christmas light this Christmas for others especially those in the darkness of sin and evil, depression and confusion, helplessness and despair, isolation and alienation, of festering anger and recurring painful memories.
We have been through a lot of so many things these past three years. It is God’s will that since the pandemic started in 2020 that this time, we celebrate Christmas face-to-face, which is what Christmas is essentially all about – the Son of God coming to us in flesh to experience Father personally.
Christmas is a story of encounters, of God meeting persons, real people like me and you.
Jesus came as a baby so that we could easily and lovingly receive him as he entrusts himself to our love and care and protection. So many things have happened to us since 2020 but hey, we are still alive, still here celebrating Christmas. Let us dwell in this joy of Jesus coming to us so we may also share him with others still sulking in all the negative vibes brought by COVID-19.
May we imitate his Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary who “kept all these things, reflecting them in her heart” (Lk. 1:19) for it is in our hearts where Jesus comes daily.
How sad that with all the experiences we have had these years of pandemic that we lose sight of its meaning that amid all the darkness and hostilities of this world, Jesus surely comes to save us!
Dearest Jesus, let me be your Christmas to others: make me firm in my conviction and faith in you "rejecting godless ways and worldly desires by living temperately, justly and devoutly" (Titus 2:12); let me be your Christmas, be born in me every day as I strive to follow you even to the Cross so that "the people who walked in darkness may see your great light to experience peace" (Isaiah 9:1, 5) when I say your words and do your works. Amen.
A blessed Merry Christmas, everyone!
Be a Christmas to others too!