When I was asked to write about the meaning of Christmas for a newsletter for Columban lay missionaries, I wished to share with other missionaries about something special or unique which others never imagined.
As I prepare for Christmas this year, my thoughts are with the people of Myanmar with whom I have celebrated Christmas since 2007. I lived in a community in Mandalay.
Where will the Christmas Festival for the communities be held this year?" asked Carolina, the Coordinator of the active Christian community of Chosicani, one of 20 Christian communities that make up the rural parish of Combapata.
Columban Sister Mary Dillon works in Myanmar amongst those living with the HIV virus. We publish below her letter of thanks to her supporters.
Howard Thurman (1899 – 1981) was an American writer who has left us with powerful thoughts and insights about Christmas. In his book, "The Mood of Christmas and Other Celebrations," he wrote these stirring words:
When I joined the Columban Lay Missionary orientation program in 2002, I knew that my decision entailed a lot of letting go. I knew that there will be special occasions at home that I would miss.
For millions of Filipinos, Christmas is a celebration of the family. They come together from around the world; they delight in the togetherness and sharing of respect. They honor the aged, bless the children, and feed the hungry.
I am standing in the center of the spacious main hall, the atrium, of the new Preda children's home for girls. The light from the transparent roof throws its soft and gentle light on the children playing nosily, shouting in glee.
They come at evening, scenes from far away, The bitter-sweet of absence and of love, When memory opens her halls of yesterday, And draws her shuttered curtains from above.
I was reading a Biblical reflection when word came that my niece's baby had just been born. The author of the reflection pointed out that the first sound we hear in the Bible is God breathing in the darkness. My thoughts wandered to my niece's baby breathing in the darkness for nine months.