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The Joy of Advent and Christmas

A friend was on his way to a wedding engagement when the car before him slightly swerved hitting part of an improvised food stall standing beside the road. Fortunately, the sidewalk vendor who happened to be a partially disabled teenager was able to escape from it. Due to the car impact, some of the food items for sale fell to the ground. Unfortunately, the car driver seemed to have ignored it as he didn’t even bother to look back, rather proceeded to move forward pretending to be in a hurry.

My friend who was driving behind the said car witnessed the said incident. At first, his reaction was likewise to ignore what he just witnessed as he was also pretty much in a hurry for an engagement. But on second thoughts, he realized about the poor teen’s predicament. What if he will no longer be able to sell his stuff after the incident, what will he bring home for his mother and younger siblings at the end of the day, so and so forth? He saw the teenage boy picking up one by one the fallen food, trying to clean and save them not knowing that they may have already been contaminated with dirt or germs and may no longer be salable, leaving him with lower sales or worst, no sales for the day. Just the mere thought of this and realizing his purpose in life being a Christian pricked his conscience, hence the decision to quickly get out of his car and handed over the boy the equivalent cost of the fallen food so he could at least bring home something for his mother and siblings. The boy was deeply touched that he was grateful for the help.

While my friend was about to start the car engine, the boy surprisingly called him uttering these words, “Hulog ka ng langit sakin” or ““You are my godsent angel”, maraming maraming salamat (thank you very much! Thank you). My friend responded with a smile and hurriedly left the place!

Today is the last day to celebrate Gaudette Sunday (also known as Joy Sunday) of Advent because tomorrow is already the 4rth Sunday of Advent. We have encountered stories like this which make us ponder on how virtues, in this case faith in God, kindness and gratitude can have impact on our lives, specifically on how it can fill our hearts and be like Jesus, at least striving hard to be like Him in the humblest way we can.

Advent is a season of waiting, expecting and hoping for the coming of Jesus on Christmas time. It is a special time of the year where everyone should be filled with JOY since we are commemorating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, and anticipating for His second coming. The benefits of salvation which was offered by Jesus to us are overwhelming that people who accept it will be freed from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. And that is just the best gift that we can receive from God during Advent and Christmas time.

The said encounter between my friend and the teenage boy was truly a blessing for both of them as God gave them that wonderful experience about His Kingdom on earth. With the good deed that he shared with the poor boy and the latter’s gratefulness in return, they must have felt something extra joyful, the presence of God in their eyes, minds and hearts. If we show genuine mercy and compassion towards our neighbors, especially to the poor, it will give us not only tremendous joy but a heavenly reward as well.

As they say, in order to get authentic joy, we have to give sincere joy first. There is a need to work for it. We have to ask for it. Okay sure, we feel happy whenever there are long weekends for our Christmas shopping and getting some good deals for perfect gifts, but the real joy comes from and the joy of the Lord and of the Lord. It takes extra effort to do something to welcome Jesus into our hearts and lives.

However, it is not only during Advent and Christmas season or in any important occasion where we are expected to rejoice and give joy but also in our mundane activities. There are many ways, big or small, to embrace joy as part of our lifestyle (e.g. putting smiles on our faces, saying thank you, lending a helping hand in our parishes, admiring the beauty of nature, etc.), on how we can be messenger of Jesus Christ unselfishly and experience God’s Kingdom on earth with our family, friends, work and community.

And so this Advent and Christmas season, we pray Father God to show and guide us how to be joyful and rejoice in all things. Help us to be mindful and grateful for all Your blessings and grant us all the chance to be bearers of unity and joy in this world. Amen.

O Holy Mary, our hope, handmaid of the Lord, pray for us.

Jesus, King of Mercy, we trust in You. Amen.

ctto: Many thanks for the featured photo.

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