dina_delfino 23 september 2011
COLOURS OF LIFE | Dina Mananquil-Delfino

Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares… -Hebrews 13.1-2

The last few months have been exhausting for me and my family. My dad had not been too well, was recently operated for a bowel tumour and was in hospital for twelve days.

He now belongs to the 39,000 ostomates in Australia and 3 million in the world. It was reassuring to know that people touched in this way need not feel depressed about their condition. But now as we change the bags for Dad several times a day, I have more respect for my digestive system!

As dad went for this major surgery, we stormed heaven for a miracle and asked many prayer intercessors to support us. It is amazing how prayers work in our lives. Despite the daily challenge of these busy days, the Lord has sustained and given us strength. We are certain that the prayers of many wonderful people who continue to hold us in their kind thoughts have helped us coped through the difficult times. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your prayers.

This challenging time has diverted us from the festive nature of Christmas, especially the desire to join the commercial bustle of it. It has given us a chance to pause and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and the gift of family.

Many of us would wander through the shops a hundred times to find the best present for people around us. It is uplifting to see people caring for people and noticing their desire to make someone happy.

It is more heart-warming of course when we hear stories that people take courageous steps to bring healing into someone’s life – forgiveness, restoration, letting go of past hurts, re-uniting, initiating harmony and peace. This is a humbling experience but a very empowering one. And this is what Christmas is all about – an unconditional love that comes from the heart.

Christmas is a joyful time for most of us. Those who have a personal relationship with Jesus know the great love of God and Jesus is the reason for the season. But for some of us, Christmas is a painful journey into loneliness, isolation, and grief especially to those who have lost loved ones. Christmas is not the same.

When everyone else is merry-making, families touched by some kind of a loss, this season is a tunnel of raw ache that would not be remedied by a gift under a tree.

It takes grace to be able to overcome and enjoy the delights of Christmas. I hope we can take comfort and inspiration from the verse below:

“At Christmas, a man is at his finest towards the finish of the year;
He is almost what he should be when the Christmas season’s here;
Then he’s thinking more of others than he’s thought the months before,
And the laughter of his children is a joy worth toiling for.
He is less a selfish creature than at any other time;
When the Christmas spirit rules him he comes close to the sublime.”
– Edgar Guest

As I look back into the past year, I can only be grateful to God for all the blessings He has provided me- the gift of life, the gift of family, the gift of friends, the gift of community, the gift of work, the gift of health, the gift of faith – have all been wrapped up for me at the manger. The question is what gift can I give Jesus back?

The New Year is at my door-step. I wonder how I will step into it. The choice is mine. I am praying that I choose well this year and that Christmas is not the only time I can come close to the source of all good. May every day be a day when I am empowered and can empower others to love, truly from the heart! Let every day be an emptying into the Holiness of God.

Wishing you all a very blessed Christmas and a Spirit-filled New Year. Thank you for your encouraging words for me to continue writing this column. God bless!

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SOURCEThe Philippine Times, December 2010 Edition
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Dina Mananquil-Delfino
Dina was a former editor-in-chief of The Philippine Times and has been its columnist for over 20 years. She has written two books, "Colours of Life" and "Under His Wings". Dina has been in the helping field for 40 years in the various roles she had fulfilled- teacher, employee in different organisations, volunteer, pastoral care worker. She is a member of Australian Counsellors of Australia (ACA) and Counsellors Victoria (CV). She brings into her practice her unique style of helping and understanding, having been exposed to various roles involving different cultures. She can relate to the challenges change brings. In her published book Colours of Life, she shares the angst and joy of being a migrant. As a Pastoral Care worker, she has helped many individuals and families empower themselves and encourage them to achieve order in their otherwise chaotic life. She also facilitates/conducts regular workshops/teachings in personal development. Dina’s strength is in pastoral care, assisting people journey through the difficult moments of serious illness, loss and bereavement, helping newly-arrived migrants, and emotionally embracing the elderly and senior members of the community, moving them to work towards a new vision of settlement, hope and comfort. DINA IS A QUALIFIED COUNSELOR AND PASTORAL CARE WORKER. She can be contacted on 0430 214 917. Email evamarie09@bigpond.com for comments or feedback on this story).

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