“Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon” (Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year) to everyone.
While statements such as this may be thought trite, it is important.
Our group, Bukal Life Care & Counseling Center (www.bukallife.org) is sending a disaster response chaplaincy team to Cagayan de Oro in Northern part of the island of Mindanao. Storm flooding has resulted in over 1000 deaths, and tens of thousands in temporary shelters, this December.
For people in this part of the Philippines, it is difficult to tell them Maligayang Pasko (Happy Christmas), it is difficult to wish them Manigong Bagong Taon (Prosperous New Year).
Our team is traveling down to Mindanao December 26-30 to help them ventilate, and prepare to look hopefully into the future. Our team is also training local churches to effectively minister in their communities.
But let’s be honest. Tossing out a happy greeting to people during the holidays is easy. But taking time to help people find some measure of joy and hope in a time of emotional and physical devastation is true to the Holiday Season.
As important as it is to “remember the reason for the season,” Christ came to to bring joy and hope to poor sheepherders in the hills, a struggling Samaritan woman, the physically handicapped, the poor, the rejected, and the sorrowing.
We truly celebrate Christmas and bring in the New Year when we bring that same joy and hope to others. I pray you have this joy and hope… but don’t keep it to yourself.