An Early Christmas Gift

In September of 2006, I received an early Christmas gift. It was quite a surprise and although I had chosen it for myself, it came wrapped in uncertainty, ribboned with doubt, and stamped with a little fear here and there.

It has been more than three months since I left the corporate world to take a much-needed break. There are days when I do miss going to the office -- I think it's the 15th and 30th of every month =) and now that Christmas is fast approaching, my gift-giving strategy has become a little bit more creative as circumstances dictate.

Still, I have been very happy. Upon opening the early Christmas gift, I have been able to enjoy daily visits to the park with my kids; bonus smiles and hugs daily; weekday lunches with friends; more time to reflect and to pray; a practically traffic-less lifestyle; more time to read and more time to write -- the list is endless. I never thought I was meant to stay at home. I always thought that I would be working in an office till 60. I am still open to that but am in no particular hurry. I have discovered that there is wisdom in taking the days at a slower pace. Of savoring experiences that come my way. Of pausing so that we can move on.

Everyday, you and I receive gifts. They come in different forms. We may not recognize them as gifts off-hand, but in time, we are sure to realize how important everything we receive (or even those we don't receive) can be.

Yesterday, was the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is a time of waiting -- of great expectation. It is time to prepare for remembering the 1st Christmas and to prepare for the second coming of Christ. The very first Christmas is the perfect example of gifts being found in the strangest of circumstances. How a Great King can come in the form of a child and how the Almighty God can choose a manger for a birthplace.

Christmas is the time to go forward by always looking back. It is seeing beyond what is visible and being thankful for all the blessings that we have.

To all the readers of, Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon. Have a blessed Christmas and a great 2007 ahead!

And so, as we prepare for our Christmas parties and for our Christmas gift-giving, let us prepare our hearts as well, my daughter Ali says. Because she says that that is "Jesus' favorite place."

Let me end this Christmas greeting with the Efficacy of Patience by Sta. Teresa of Avila. We likewise ask all readers to say prayers for those who were affected by Typhoon Reming and may you be able to extend help to the affected families through prayers or material donations through your churches and organizations:

"Let nothing trouble you,
Let nothing scare you.
All is fleeting
God alone is unchanging.
everything obtains.
Who Possesses God
Nothing Wants.
God alone suffices."

Are you ready and prepared to receive your Christmas gift?

[By Angelica Viloria | Monday, December 4, 2006]

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