Christmas time is here. Because of COVID-19, our generation will, perhaps, experience Christmas 2020 as the most unique in our lifetime.
Minors who have been quarantined in their homes for so many months have been looking forward to go out this holiday season. Little children, however, have been prohibited from entering malls and air conditioned premises. I have seen some parents and kids doing their shopping in sidewalks and public markets, because they have been turned away by mall security guards.
Parties, considered as non-essential activities, are also prohibited, especially in government offices. Many families are thinking of various ways to celebrate the season without the traditional family reunions. Others are opting to hold virtual family gatherings, such as through zoom.
Before COVID, video calls during Christmas were more practiced by those with family members abroad. Now, it seems that even though our siblings and their families are living in the same province, we have to do video conferencing, instead of a personal visit on Christmas day. This way, senior family members and those with comorbidities, will not be possibly exposed to the virus, especially during meal times when we take off our face masks.
During the fourth Sunday of Advent, Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD, who presided over a mass streamed by Divine Word Media, talked about the need to focus on CHRIST, the birthday celebrant, the reason for the season.
Fr. Jerry said, instead of MAS, or Merrymaking, Affluence and Socializing, let us focus on Christ, Home, Responsibilities, Involvement, Silence, and Transformation.
Watching and listening to Fr. Jerry, preaching the gospel about the Annunciation, reinforced my admiration of some qualities of Mary, the mother of Christ. It also reminded me of some gender sessions, and readings on woman and religion with PILIPINA founding mothers Remedios Ignacio-Rikken and Sr. Mary John Mananzan, respectively.
Mary is a woman of faith. She trusted in the Lord. Joseph planned to break off with her, had an angel not visited him in a dream telling him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife.
Mary is a woman for others or a service-oriented person. When she learned that her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant, she came to visit her and stayed with her for three months (to serve her or minister to her).
On Mary’s due date, she was travelling to another town for the census and gave birth in a stable, because there were no vacancies in various inns.
We can just imagine her discomfort while delivering Jesus, but she made it through with the help of her supportive husband, Joseph.
We have Christmas, because a young woman said “Yes”, to the angel of the Lord. “Be it done to me according to your word”.
As we celebrate the birthday of Jesus, let us also offer a special prayer for all mothers, who have lost their loved ones to COVID-19, or who have family members currently fighting for their lives in various hospitals due to COVID.
Let us also pray for those who have spouses and children who are medical and health frontliners, and are worried everyday, lest they get the virus while saving lives.
Have a Blessed and Merry Christmas everyone! – NWI