Christmas came as fast, and just as soon, is gone.

Besides the gifts and favors, the little joys and gestures of love, what will you remember of the holiday season?

As we look back at the year past, what have we got and what have we given?

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We had received some blessings in one way or the other. Successful business ventures. Financial rewards. A job promotion. Goodwill. Power.

What have I given?

I rejoice in my word of honor. I like to be trusted because I am determined to keep my commitment. But I am proud when people like me because they find me dependable.

What one gives is different from what one gives up.

My favorite Christmas song is "Give Love on Christmas Day." It is the kind of love takes many forms including being generous, patient, forebearing and sensitive to others' needs.

I cannot be charitable with something I have not got but I am responsive to a fault. I often over react to situations which is not good for the health.

But I idealize that nameless fellow in a popular tale who found himself in the middle of a pasture with an angry bull chasing him.

The only escape in sight was a tree, but the nearest limb was ten feet off the ground. The fellow ran for it and made a tremendous leap, probably like the giant frog in Pyestang Tugak. He missed it on the way up but caught the branch on the way down.

One who finds himself in this predicament should let go. As Bunyan says, "he that is down need fear no fall."

Surely there are things and moments that you can catch better in a rebound. Like how easy is it to win the heart of a jilted woman.

Most of our new year's resolution is to make 2010 better than the last. You can start by giving up one of the deadliest sins - envy.

Envy, as we all know it, breeds mischief, the common vice of politicians.

The opportunity to do mischief "is found a hundred times a day, and that of doing good once a year," according to Voltaire. The newspapers will prove its truism.

One mischief of politicians is the facility to say bad words. The philosopher Tacitus holds "when men are full of envy they disparage everything, whether it be good or bad." Best example of an object of envy is PGMA.

Being envious is harmless if you only wish to acquire, say, the virtue, possession, talent, and power or honor of the person envied with. It becomes deadly when you attempt to grab these at all costs.

Credit grabbing is a milder form of envy, more venial than mortal sin.

In Don Quixote, Cervantes describes its poison:

"O envy, root of countless evil and cankerworm of virtues! All the vices bring pleasures with them, but envy brings nought but discord, rancour, and rage."

My fondest wish on New Year's Day is for certain kin and friends to be freed from their common addiction. This one is distinct from commonly labeled addictions to alcohol, drugs, nicotine, gambling, and power.

The most dangerous addiction is over-obsession with a person, usually a lover or a mistress. This emotional or physical over-dependence, especially for the pleasures of romantic love - will surely bring a life of misery, both for the addicted and the object of addiction. Look at the murders, suicides, violence, and parricides that are the content of newspapers daily.

All because of a relationship gone bad.

To fellow seniors citizens, particularly the afflicted who are going a difficult time, try to understand that it may be God's purpose to inflict us to make us MORE spiritually fruitful. Pruning a tree increases its growth and fruition.

My own experience is that pain is one of His ways to discipline us for the disobedience (to His words) and the laws of nature. Let us remember that diseases, usually, are the fruits of ill-pleasures.

That is equally true with high cholesterol and gonorrhea.

Have you noticed from recent "text" and verbal messages that happiness and joy are the two things that dominated all Holiday wishes?

Happiness depends on what happens to us, like getting a job or receiving a precious gift. Joy is not dependent on the good (as in winning or getting) or bad (as losing) events. Joy is the marvelous fruit of God's spirit within us. We receive it without cost.

As we bid farewell to 2009 with Auld Lang Syne, let us welcome the new year with Joy to the World! The Lord has come.