“It is better to give than to receive” is an adage most quoted among philanthropies. To give and share has become a habit, a tradition, especially during the season of Christmas. We do this because we want to follow the footsteps and the example of our God who is generous enough to give us His Only Son who came and dwelt among us. He is indeed the greatest gift from God to humanity. We recently celebrated the 125th year of God’s Presence in our institute with the theme “He came to dwell among us”. I have come to appreciate more the meaning of Christmas – that it is the celebration not just a simple gift giving and sharing but to really incarnate the “WORD made Flesh”.
We the sisters in Marikina community in the Philippines do Christmas sharing annually as one of our Christmas initiatives. We identify the beneficiaries and to them we give and share whatever we’ve gathered from our generous friends and benefactors, in our carolling. We do give them material things but in this truly simple act of giving, we want them to feel the joyful spirit of Christmas.
One year, we decided to share with the Aeta community in Matalangao, Bagac in the province of Bataan. We came to know them through the Rogationist Fathers. We went there last on 22 December 2011. We served them lunch and we ate with them. We let them play and enjoy parlour games then we shared the gifts with them. As soon as they received their presents, joy and happiness marked their faces. I was deeply touched as I saw it from the youngest child to the eldest woman. It was such a joy and happiness that comes from the heart. Care for one another is obvious among them. I observed this clearly when some women came over and asked us to take a share of food for their husbands or for someone who was not present, for some of them were out on the farm. They just got what was enough. While in the queue to get their share of food they were waiting patiently for their turn. How disciplined and orderly they were and how grateful they were as to give us the fruits of their labour such as bananas, root crops and others. Our brothers and sisters, the Aetas have little or no education yet they knew and understood that Christmas is not limited to gift giving but that it is how a person practices and incarnates the WORD of GOD. Their loving concern for one another was its clear expression and a testimony for all Christians.
We also shared with our brothers and sisters who were victims of the calamities in Mindanao.
Thanks to all our friends and benefactors and to God who made that Christmas, and all Christmases, truly blessed.
Marikina FDZ Community