“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us)” (Mt. 1:22-23)
Christmas is just around the corner, and the season of merriment is in the air with glittering lights and festive parties everywhere. I celebrated my first one with the children in the boondocks of Nangan Nangan yesterday, even if I am still reeling in sadness from the tragic incident that happened a week ago when our Guadalupe angel cab service was mercilessly burned down by a bewildered man in the wee hours of December 9. Painful though it was for me and my lay mission partners, RenRen and Josie Gualiza, we nevertheless decided to continue with our planned celebration for the children even without the needed transportation to bring the needed supplies and goods to prepare for this simple gathering. Thankfully, however, I was able to borrow the Cathedral’s Hilux from the priests, Fr. Allan and Fr. Noel, ahead of time so we could transport the gift donations, and food stuffs together with my friend Gina who took time out to look for sponsors for this celebration.
When we arrived at Nanga Nangan, there were around 39 children who excitedly gathered for the party donning their best clothes. They shyly presented their dance numbers, happily played parlor games, and received the gift bags given to them before we proceeded to serve lunch. As everyone started eating their share, my friend Gina, noticed a boy hardly eating. In fact, he even sipped just a little bit from his juice drink as well. Later on, we learned from him that he wanted to bring home his allotted portion for his little sister at home so she could also have a taste of the spaghetti and other delicious food served to them. We were so moved by his pure and generous heart at that party.
This act of selflessness of Dave, perhaps a very small gesture that does not merit any publicity on social media, moved me to tears and flooded my heart with the gift of joy and gratitude. His generosity far exceeds his capacity to give, considering that he literally had nothing to give except the little also that he received from us. He made me value all the more the essence of why we are celebrating Christmas, that is, the priceless gift of God’s love that no amount of money can buy. It simply comes from a heart so pure and true that it defies the standards of our world’s materialistic and egoistic worldview. It is rejoicing in the coming of the most precious gift the world has ever known…the gift of the Emmanuel, the “God-with-us!”
I was mourning for an unexpected tragic loss, but now it has turned into tears of consolation and joy for the wondrous ways God has shown his great love for me, through the innocence of a child. I pray for Dave and the countless innocent poor children who have nothing to give but their genuine smiles of peace and contentment, their selfless love and friendship that are priceless gifts in our broken and wounded humanity. May we all be reminded of the real meaning behind this Christmas season…LOVE!
Thank you so much for sharing your blessings with us, most of all, for your friendship and support! Wishing you and your loved ones a Blessed Christmas!
Sr. Marjorie Guingona, SAC
December 17, 2022
Nanga Nangan, Tigbao, ZDS