Christmas Gift List

Resurrection narrative preceding the Infancy narrative. Regarding the dates of Gospel episodes, you must have heard more than once in your home parishes that the birth of Christ was written after the story of the Resurrection. This indicates that though Christ's messianic birth was prefigured and expected, our rising with Him in the last day to be with the Father is the center of our faith. For that, we proclaim it in every Mass as the Mystery of our Faith: "Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again." That is why, during this Giving Season, while you are contemplating about your gift-list, let me tell you about some epochal figures whose lives remind us that after all, their authentic gift-giving, offered in union with the Lord, was the best for Christmas and for as long as they lived:
Death as a fulfillment. Alexander idealized Achilles, who preferred a shorter life in return for eternal fame. Almost like his idol, Alexander died young at thirty-two. No one knows whether his shortened life was caused by typhoid or by a conspiracy of his officers who got tired of his conquests, alleged unreachable dreams and unreasonable slavery to his power and megalomania. Meanwhile, in another civilization, we see another figure, Solomon, whose gift-list registers his love of God as his top priority. For choosing wisdom over power and wealth, he was rewarded with both. Truly, "our strength is shown in the things we stand for; our weakness is shown in the things we fall for."
Surprisingly, some prefer death to life because of the fear to face life. At times, seduction to death comes from boredom in success or from fatigue in trying. Dag Hammarskjold, along this regard, left lasting advice: "Do not seek death. Death will find you. But seek the road which makes death a fulfillment."
Resurrection as a guarantee. Two weeks before his assassination, Oscar Romero, Archbishop and martyr of San Salvador , said: "I have frequently been threatened with death. I must say that, as a Christian, I do not believe in death but in the resurrection. If they kill me, I shall rise again in the Salvadoran people. Martyrdom is a great gift from God that I do not believe I have earned. But if God accepts the sacrifice of my life then may blood be the seed of liberty, and a sign of the hope that will soon become a reality … A bishop will die, but the Church of God – the people – will never die."
Being a saint in secret defines the uniqueness of our meaningful role. Not everybody can be a Solomon or an Archbishop Romero. Besides, martyrdom is a gift only to some. The purpose of this Christmas article is just to affirm your daily sacrifices. I have met people who become "like a fish crazily searching for the sea, not knowing he is already swimming right there." They constantly search for the meaning of life, not knowing that its meaning is in finding meaning in the daily-ness of their gift-list. My dear Readers, just by being a saint in secret you become the best saint that will ever happen to the people around you. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


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