A Gift for Jesus

John 5: 33-36
Isa 56:1-3a,6-8 / Psa 67

For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me.
(John 5:36)

Let good works witness to His love
And herald that Christmas is near;
May we learn the true message of
God’s Gift Who brings Yuletide cheer.

(Jesus said), “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me.” (John 5:33-36)

Reflection

As our tradition in the Philippines, we celebrate December 16 as the first dawn mass of the nine-day novena before Christmas which we call Simbang Gabi. Why on earth we call it that escapes me. It is also the day after payroll day, when the malls are packed with shoppers hunting for gifts to give their loved ones and mga inaanak (godchildren). Christmas is just around the corner, and the “givers” are almost in a state of panic. What to give this Christmas? We are so busy racking our brains to find the right presents to give, we forget that what is more important is what we will give to our Lord Jesus, Who is after all the Birthday Celebrant.

What we can give to Jesus this Christmas are our good works, especially in giving gifts to the poorest of the poor in our city. As Jesus Himself said, “When you give a feast, do not invite your friends or relatives, or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you have a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” (Lk.14: 12-14). For it is the good works that we perform for the least of His children that testify to our love for Jesus, and the best gift that we can give Him this Christmas.

We have chosen to enjoy the light of Christmas in the gift-hunting, the caroling, the parties, the homecomings, but are these the activities that give testimony to the joy of Christmas? Are these what really give meaning to the coming of the Lord? Yesterday, as I was on the way to Roxas boulevard to enjoy an early morning jog, the sight of some homeless people sleeping on the littered sidewalk gave me pause. A mother and her two skinny children were just getting up from their cardboard mat to face another bitter day, and it seemed impossible that I could just pass them without leaving a token of my sympathy. Good thing I brought some money with me, and handed her a 200 Peso bill. Her grateful smile told me that Jesus had appreciated my small gift. I thanked the Lord for His gift of generosity.

Lord Jesus, may the spirit of Your coming touch the hearts of all who believe in You, so that we may be more generous in giving gifts to those who need them most: the homeless poor, the sick, the widows and orphans, and so make this season of Christmas a more meaningful one. Amen.

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