I wondered whether there were available data about how much we spend for Christmas.

And I found it! A survey through Facebook showed that on the average Filipinos spend about
 P 16,000 pesos buying gifts and other stuff for Christmas.

It also showed that younger people bought more compared to their adult counterparts.

Imagine so much bills accumulated in so short a time, to be paid later in so long a time!

Just look at your home, and survey what new things have entered the door before Christmas. They may be small things, but if you count the total, they can amount to a big sum.

Gifts, for others and for oneself, are always good. It is important to appreciate others and important to feel loved and cared for.

But Christmas is not primarily about gifts. It is about the quality of the gifts we give.

And the quality does not depend on the splendor, the price, the rarity, the uniqueness of the gift.

It all depends on love behind the gift.

Today we once again remember the Magi, or the Three Kings as we love to call them. We have made them the examples of our gift-giving at Christmas time.

Remember though, they did not only give the Child Jesus gifts.
-               They did not go to the mall during a 3-day sale.
-               They did not place an order from Lazada.
-               They did not travel to Nazareth to deliver their “packages.”

They came, from very far, because they were seeking the one they love. They saw the star and knew that to follow that star would lead them to the One they have been longing for all their lives.

“We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”

It is the homage that was more important, for it came from the heart.

Their gifts were mere representations of the love they had for the newborn Messiah, the King to whom they willingly knelt and bowed.

A professor shared his Christmas reflection in a party. He moved his listeners when he stressed that “you can give without love but you cannot love without giving.”

Yes, we can give gifts out of obligations or pressure, to conform with the behavior of others, or to make ourselves fit the mold. Such gifts may dazzle the eyes for awhile but later on, fill the storage cabinet or end up in the dumpster.

If you love, however, just as the Father loved us in sending his Only Begotten Son, then that love unfolds with multiple, flowing gifts that are experienced very gently but steadily in a way that transforms.

It is a gift that never stops giving, a gift that renews itself, a gift that transforms the giver and the receiver.

Now the spending season is over. Now the gifts have been un-boxed. Now is the time to ask: How did I share the love of Christ during the holidays? How did I embrace with love the kindness and presence of others around me.

After Christmas, it is time to let love flow without fail…



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