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Saturday , 2 July 2022

Glory at Christmas time

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Dina Mananquil-Delfino
Dina Mananquil-Delfino
Dina was 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 has fulfilled – teacher, employee in different organisations, volunteer, pastoral care worker. She is a member of Australian Counsellors of Australia (ACA) and Counsellors Victoria (CV). 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).

Time can be defined as a noun or a verb. I do not have the time and space to unpack its definitions. I know that when I wake up, I will hopefully have some time to do certain things and come evening, I trust that I will be given the time to rest and sleep.

We often hear people say, “I do not have the time.” But what exactly do they mean? I have often said this myself and after I ask myself what is the truth when I say it.

Sometimes, I know it is the fact – I have committed myself to so many things and there is no surplus of time. But at times, it can be an easy excuse. It could mean: I have more important things to do than to spend it with you or your request; I don’t have anything to do but I am not in the mood to do it; I don’t have anything to do but I can’t be bothered explaining why. 

THE CHRISTMAS MUKBANG
THE CHRISTMAS MUKBANG

Time is relative. This refers to our perception of time. When I am having a good time, it feels like time passes quickly; but if I am bored, then it seems to drag on. In this sense, time is somehow connected to our experience. 

Time decelerates when I walk with a frail resident from her room to the chapel. The last two minutes of my laundry machine can be painstakingly lengthy when I am rushing to go out. The kettle boils unhurriedly as I wait thirsting for a hot cuppa. Even in praying, a minute can seem like hours.

A poem I once read: Time is slow when you wait… time is fast when you are late…time is deadly when you are sad…time is short when you are happy… time is endless when you are in pain… time is long when you are bored…every time, time is determined by your feelings, and your psychological conditions, not by clocks.  

As I write this article, I have a clock nearby… I am oblivious of it as I get enmeshed in my task. But as I start focusing and watch it tick, I become conscious of its slowness… tick… tick… tick…

Christmas is a season when our time will be challenged. There are many voices that will call us – time to shop, time to wrap up the presents, time to cook, time to plan, time to go on a holiday, time to spend with family, friends, time to celebrate with workmates, time to go to church, time to stay up late for those party drinks. Even COVID 19, which has tempered our use of time, may not halt us in these confounding times. 

We are asked to slow down at Christmas, have time to reflect, have some hours to pray and welcome Baby Jesus through holy hymns. Most importantly, we are asked to consider what it really means for our relationships with others. Do we see the use of our time as an empowering process, helping us make sense of the season and discovering perhaps a new richness of our life?

I do not intend to shop much this Christmas – the crowds and thoughts of COVID still linger, and having to wear masks and taking my phone out a hundred times for those QR codes and evidence of my double vaccinations are not pleasant thoughts.  I might take up the offer to have some quiet time. Maybe I can slow down and reflect on the more important things of my life, whatever they are, without putting pressure on others to comply with mine. 

Reflection comes from the Latin reflectere- meaning to bend back, to turn back, or to turn around. It is not an easy process for some of us; my mind always operates in advance, busy with the next vision, next project, next move and easily influenced by the noise of the world. The relentless instantaneous access to information 24/7 encourages us to speed up our lives – making us impatient. They say the unremitting and rapid flow of information into our lives is like junk food- too much of it can make us sick. 

A modern-day prophet shared that he had a vision one day – God showed him two clocks. One was ticking so fast, and the other so slow. He asked the Lord what the vision meant. It was revealed to him that the clock that was ticking so fast is the clock of the end times, and the clock that was ticking so very slowly, was the clock of salvation of souls. Are we running out of time? I don’t really know… Is there time in heaven? I really don’t know… All I am assured of, by faith, is that when I get to heaven, time is eternal. 

But while I am here on earth, I pray that I can make good use of the time God has given me. And especially at Christmas, when Jesus manifested Himself to us in this time and space. This is my humble prayer for us – if we are joyful, take time to share it with others; if we are grieving or hurting, take time to be comforted by the peace of God; if we are bored or lonely take time to take on a new challenge; if we are anxious, take time to slow down and breathe; if we are fully provided for, take time to share your gifts with others; if we are angry, take time to empathise with someone; if we are inspired, take time to encourage someone and give hope. 

The way we celebrate Christmas could have changed over the years. But its message is eternal – love, peace, joy, hope, being a light to others.

Yes, we can have our Christmas tree, Santa, Kris Kringle, bright lights, festive food, the gifts, the hustle and bustle, the carols, catch up with families and friends, but let us not forget the true meaning of Christmas by glorifying the One who gave it all. As you sit and enjoy the occasion, don’t forget to touch your heart, point to your family, friends and guests, that Christ came with a plan for our redemption. Alleluia!

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

~ John 1:14

*My warmest Christmas blessings on one and all! Hugs heaps and go gently…

For comments or feedback, email evamarie09@bigpond.com

Dina Mananquil-Delfino
Dina Mananquil-Delfino
Dina was 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 has fulfilled – teacher, employee in different organisations, volunteer, pastoral care worker. She is a member of Australian Counsellors of Australia (ACA) and Counsellors Victoria (CV). 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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