IT WILL be different this year, that is for sure. We might call it a less Christmas if you will. Fewer celebrations, eating, reunions, gift-giving, shopping. Less of everything. In our family, it will be the first time that we will not be complete. We decided that Miguel better stay put in Hong Kong because frankly, it is such a hassle to travel nowadays. The peril, the anxiety, the quarantine. Not worth it. Raphael and Hazel will be celebrating their first Christmas with their newborn baby, Martine. So that leaves us three at home. For the first time, it will be different. Yet I think that is something that we all have in common this year. We all have our "less" situations this Christmas because this year is a different Christmas. But less does not mean less. In the midst of everything, there is more to the less.
It has been quieter this year. More of perspective and reflection, well at least to those who took the time to reflect and retreat to their sacred spaces. There was more of realizing that less could be enough.
Fewer clothes to wash because there was nowhere to go. Less food to eat because we ate what was on our tables. Less complaining because we saw how foolish we were. We came to see that we really did not need many shoes and clothes and that perfume. Or bag or shirt. And in that, we saw more, realized more, became more. Well at least for those who took the time or had the courage and strength to stare at one's own abyss.
Still, there were others who treated this pandemic as an opportunity to further themselves. Some became richer, others used it for personal gain. Some became more vile and selfish. But that is their choice. God sees everything baya. "There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known." (Luke 12:2) So there, it is your life anyway. And yes, your eternity. So choose well.
My own battle in this pandemic has been one of faith or the lack of it. There are days where my faith is so strong that I am amazed. And then there are moments that I wither and fall like a lost leaf. Most days I struggle in the ferocious and relentless dreariness and violence of being locked down at home. And my only comfort has been prayer, the one thing that I really look forward to is the silent prayer.
And as Christmas draws nearer the feeling is felt even more. We have always associated Christmas with dinners and families and singing and celebrations. And yet now there is less of it.
Perhaps in the silence, we will find out what we have been missing all these Christmases. Perhaps we shall once more conceive the conception thousands of years ago. Perhaps we shall discover the Christ in Christmas.
Have a safe Christmas. May we find Christ once more in the silent nights of our homes.