Sunday, 24 December 2017

Christmas is the Season for Giving and Forgiving

Once there was a man who worked extremely hard so that his little daughter, Daisy, his wife and mother could have proper food, clothes and shelter. Last year, a few days before Christmas, his little five year old Daisy, asked him for rupees ten to buy some gold wrapping paper. At first, he refused and grumbled at her as he didn’t have the money to spare. But when he saw her sad face, he gave her the money and told her not to waste it.

On Christmas morning, filled with excitement Daisy handed her father his present, a shoe box packed with the gold paper saying, “This is for you, dear daddy”. He felt a bit embarrassed at his earlier refusal. But on opening the box he found the box empty and flared up at Daisy for squandering his money to buy the wrapping paper. He rebuked her saying, ‘how can you present me an empty box and waste the money to wrap this empty shoe box?’

Little Daisy with tears rolling down her eyes said, "Daddy the box is not empty I blew kisses into it till the box was full." The father was completely overwhelmed and begged her to forgive him. Little Daisy was quick to forgive her Daddy and jumped into his loving arms.

Once speaking to some families, Pope Francis said, ‘it’s beautiful when we can always open our hearts to one another and hide nothing. Where there is love there is forgiveness. How miserable we would be if God did not forgive us! Within the family, we learn how to forgive because we are certain that we are understood and supported, in whatever mistakes we make’.

On another occasion when speaking to a large crowd gathered in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis urged all Christians to open their hearts to forgiveness because only by forgiving, we can have true peace. The family is a great training ground for mutual forgiving and giving without which there can be no true and lasting love.’

We can only have peace on earth if we live the Spirit of Christmas every day in our lives and share it with everyone around us. We must always remember that to be a Christian means to forgive the excusable because God has forgiven us the inexcusable. Forgiveness is a choice we have to make for ourselves and not for other people, if we want to continue our journey so that we can be at peace with ourselves. It does not change the past but it certainly enlarges the future. As Mahatma Gandhi once expressed, ‘Forgiveness is not an occasional act but a constant attitude of the strong and not the weak.’ Let us live the spirit of Christmas everyday so that we can spread the good news of forgiveness and peace. As Saint Teresa of Kolkata told a gathering, ‘people are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway,’

In this “wonderful time of the year’ let Jesus kindle the flames of love, peace, joy and forgiveness in our hearts. Real joy can be ensured when we make our Saviour the focus of the season and open our hearts and hands to the poor, oppressed, marginalised and homeless.

Let us learn that Christmas is forever, not just for one day, but for loving, sharing, and forgiving all the year round.

May the spirit of Christmas give each one of us peace, joy and forgiveness in our hearts. Wishing you all A Merry Christmas & A Prosperous New Year 2018 filled with the warmth of Christ’s love with new hope, joy and happiness.

- Father Dominic Gomes, Vicar General

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