Meanne M. Mijares
“He must become greater, I must become less.” (John 3:30)
The Christmas countdown has already begun. While we are preparing for this most wonderful time of the year, this is the best time to let our Lord Jesus Christ challenge us. People say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. It isn’t totally clear where the 21 day rule originated , although some say it initiated from a self-help book way back in the 1970s called “Psycho-Cybernetics”. The idea is that if you go over a behavior for a certain period, the mind will modify. Establishing new habits are perhaps easier than breaking old habits, but can either of these be done in just 21 days? Some would argue with their thumbs up or thumbs down.
I would like to challenge you, dear FilCatholic readers, to do the habit of making room for our Lord Jesus Christ for the season commemorating His birth and all the years of your life. Since we live in a time bound world, this challenge would certainly be worth doing. The 21 day challenge will start from the First Sunday of Advent up to Christmas Eve.
We live in a “selfie” generation. Every move we make we take photos alongside video clips and upload them immediately on social media for all to see-Christmas parties, outreach programs, gift giving and so on. There is nothing wrong doing all these but everything in excess is well too bad.
First, let us start with LESS SELFISHNESS-We want everything to ourselves-always me, mine, myself and I and little or nothing for others. We want to have the advantage of being first in something significant or a certain achievement. It’s time to do away with that. Selfishness will only impede our spiritual growth. There should be none of that. Let us be selfless to accomplish more.
Next, LESS COMPLAINING-From the minute detail to major one, we always tend to whine and complain instead of expressing appreciation. Try to do something about it in order to solve the problem at hand. Complaining will never bring solutions. Dialogue and settlement will. Then give credit to avoid further complains.
Next, LESS BITTERNESS-From being selfish causes us to complain and it gets worse by getting bitter. We say and do something that people around us are feeling hurt and slighted by our behavior. Let us add more sweetness and a little salt in our dealings with others by being kind, patient, respectful and considerate.
Next, LESS GOSSIP-This is everyone’s favorite past time but it can be dangerous when a person’s life is in peril with the slanderous remarks of people against him or her has not enough basis. Gossip will never make us better than the others. It only sows conflict, anger and tension because things go out of hand by putting in and taking out something about the lives of others where in the first we have no business with. It is not only a waste of time but it hinders us from solving the problem and for the truth to come out.
Next, LESS DRAMA-There is no denying that most of us are teleserye fanatics, we tune in to the drama programs on television that we can identify ourselves with by rooting for the main protagonists for reaching the pinnacle of success and castigating the antagonists for making their lives miserable and rejoicing when they finally face the terrible consequences of their actions. Again, there is nothing wrong with watching teleseryes. What is wrong about it is that we seem to apply to our very own lives consciously or not by imitating or exaggerating the storyline. Only the Lord has the power to make the story of our lives more inspiring and much better than the ideas that existed in the minds of directors and scriptwriters whether on movies or on TV. Be challenged to be more of ourselves and wean the habit of watching those teledramas. Let God make a difference in your life. Go out there and make your story happen. Real people would like to be inspired by real stories and how these true stories lead them to God.
Next, LESS ANGER-By being selfish, we are easily angered when people appreciate others more than ourselves for a lot of reasons. Sometimes if not often enough our anger stems from self-inflicted wounds. We hurt ourselves then we get angry at others by blaming them for our predicament. The best way to deal with anger is through silence and prayer. It helps control and subside our temper. Reflect on the situation and what lesson it is trying to teach you. Once you know it, then it is time to have an open dialogue to settle matters in a way that pleases our Lord.
Next, LESS PRIDE-Pride is the root of all these things that I have mentioned-anger, drama, gossip, bitterness, complaining and selfishness because we want to be ahead of others to the point that we are trampling on one another to be first. We will all have our time to shine one at a time. While the time has not yet come let us help others reach for their dreams and we should not step on them. Let us surrender all these to our Lord Jesus Christ and be one with Him and others. Pride will cause us to self-destruct and get us to nowhere. Let us be careful with the sin of pride!
Now, let us ask our Lord to fill us with more of Him and less of you and me so there is no need for us to complain, be selfish, bitter, gossip, drama, pride and anger because He is always in control of everything.
In many parts of the world, there are so many holiday decors on display. And there will be more glitter and color when Christmas Day is already drawing near. Let us keep on smiling by bringing our Lord’s light to everyone. Let us lend our Lord’s ears when we listen to others. Let our hands and feet be His to reach out and cheer up those who are sad and down trodden. Let our eyes be His so we can see more than what see and know. Let our hearts be like His to have room for love, mercy and compassion not reproach. May we be more than just a multi-decked Christmas tree by becoming living images of our Lord Jesus Christ not only during the holiday season but all throughout our lives! (“You did not choose Me, but I chose and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit-fruit that will last.” John 15:16a)
Are you ready to say, “Challenge accepted”?
Lord Jesus, please empty me of myself so I can be filled with You.
Make me whom You want me to be. Amen.