Whenever my birth date in October comes approaching or when I wake up to December’s Christmas and New Year’s celebration, I always find myself a little jaded and in a reflective mood. It’s as if I am suddenly snapped out of my fast paced, seemingly ordinary and everyday routines. I am reminded of that inevitable TRUTH that LIFE as we know it is short; that the days of man are numbered. Scary as that might sound, it is one that personally keeps me grounded and gives me hope and inner peace too.
Looking back at 2012 and moving forward to 2013 I’ve picked up a few points of reflection in my melancholic state, most of which are wisdom shared from the preaching of Camille Araullo and also from testimonies during MCC Makati’s year ender worship last December 30, 2012.
Of Resolutions. Madam Celia Rodriguez, one of the living legends of the Philippine entertainment industry, is the mother of Camille. Madam Celia gave a testimony and a portion of which I will be paraphrasing from memory (emphasis mine):
“I do not do new year’s resolutions, for one hindi ko naman sya nagagawa. All I ask and one thing I ask every year is TO BE A BETTER PERSON by knowing HIM more; knowing GOD more. That’s all I ask and that’s all that I hope to do in the coming New Year, every year.”
We usually ask ourselves as we transition from one year to the next: What is my concept of becoming a better person? What is it that I want to improve in my/our life/lives, mind-set, behaviour and/or attitude this coming year?
Some of us fret about New Year’s resolutions simply because it’s a “tradition” of the festivities. It’s the “in” thing we do and people talk about it at length during this time of the year. It is even the first thing we write on our newly acquired fabulosity which is the Starbucks planner. As we go into a reflective state let us look deep in ourselves and resolve to act on our personal goals not because of external pressures or traditions, let’s us do it mainly because we want to make the most of the limited time we have and use it to better ourselves as we serve the people God called us to serve. Adjustments to our attitude or behavior can be a constant struggle which requires constant reflection all year through. Thus, resolutions are not just something we do at the start of the year but whenever it is needed.
On having a Balanced Perspective. One of those who gave a testimony was John (I hope I remember his name correctly, if not I apologize) in which he relayed how 2012 was really terrible for him. He shared that he lost a job, his savings, his friends, his home and worst of all he lost a parent. Yet according to him, the one thing he never lost was his faith in God. He believed that he will eventually come out of all of the bad things through the help of his creator. He demonstrated the eternal truth of life: “You win some, you lose some”.
There will be good years and there will be bad years. Even with fairy tales, life is expected to have tragedies & conflicts. Let us accept those moments that bring tears, pain, loss and brokenness. These sad parts allow us to increasingly appreciate the experience & blessing of laughter, peace, comfort and abundance which we should continue to celebrate side-by-side. The dance between loss & abundance, sadness & laughter or of sickness & health, can be our rallying points of survival; of great wisdom to grow as persons and; of welcoming tremendous grace and healing. Where the old year seems to have been an extra challenging year for many of us, we must continue cultivating that fighting spirit and that hopeful heart to passionately make 2013 the best that we can make of it as inspired by God’s enduring love.
Of Accepting God’s Ways. 2012 has also been a challenging year for me, emotionally and spiritually. However, one of the greatest points of wisdom that I have come to experience is the biblical truth that “God’s ways are not our ways and God’s time is not our time”. Too often we as humans think that we always know what is best to do given a certain situation or problem. But there comes a time where it seems like we have done everything we could and yet all sorts of evil seems to continuously prevail; things like deception, greed, manipulation seems to pervade. We also come to a point where we feel that God is silent and slow into action. And after so much wounds, tears and sorrows, suddenly we find ourselves in the centre of God’s ALL embracing justice and love. All of a sudden we realize that ALL things, persons and circumstances had to take their own time and execution to fall into PERFECT place in order to achieve what is RIGHT, HOLY AND TRUE. The only thing we need to keep in mind is that God will never fail us if only we hold on and to never lose our grip on doing the right thing. IN TIME ALL THINGS SHALL COME FULL CIRCLE.
Finally, what I took to heart from Camille’s beautiful preaching last Sunday is that instead of making noise and using fireworks to drive away bad luck and evil spirits (so the tradition says), LET US ALLOW CHRIST AND HIS MESSAGE OF PEACE BE THE LOUDEST NOISE WE HAVE IN OUR HEARTS AND LET CHRIST BE THE BRIGHTEST FIREWORK OF GOD THAT WILL SHINE IN OUR LIVES AS WE WELCOME AND HOPE FOR A BETTER, BRIGHTER AND MORE ABUNDANT NEW YEAR.
Yes, God’s fireworks in our lives can be fascinating, challenging, overwhelming and beautiful. The experience of receiving blessing after blessing comes from the necessity of fire in our day to day existence. And as we learned in 2012, we shall accept that simple truth.
From your MCC Quezon City family, we pray that you and your loved ones will have a truly blessed 2013. May God’s grace, healing and love be to each and all!
Written by: Bro. Joseph Tiu
Edited by: Red Macalalad