Saturday, November 22, 2008



From the Director, Joe Tale

Last Christmas, we kicked off the season with our hugely successful “A Time to Dance,” which in turn launched the equally hugely successful “One Time Big Time.”  This was the big miracle in our community life last year – that we were able to wipe out more than P20 million in debts – in spite of the relationship conflict and the challenges that we went through.


Now, it is Christmas once again.  How fast time flies, indeed!


And so we rummage through our things to bring out mothballed decorative items -- the Christmas tree, the belen, the little knick-knacks that proclaim that our household joyously anticipates the coming of our Savior.


But there is a cloud in our horizon this Christmas.  Ed David, who spoke at our most recent Mission Core Teaching Night, called it “A Perfect Storm,” the worldwide financial crisis that is now rapidly roiling through the developed nations and threatening to engulf small nations like ours.


Should we, as Christians who firmly believe in God’s mercy and providence, allow this cloud to affect how we respond to the Christmas theme of love and joy and generosity? Should we now lock up not just our wallets but also our hearts so that, seemingly battened down against the “storm,” we can say we are prepared?


At no other time of the year are expressions of love and caring more apparent than at Christmastime.  At no other season do we allow ourselves free rein in showing those we love how much we value them.  In fact, at no other time do we also allow our hearts to soften towards those who have hurt us. 


Should the financial crisis now prevent us from giving expression to our love and caring?


I say NO.  It is precisely the threat of hard times ahead that should spur us to think of others besides ourselves and our loved ones.  It is the thought that so many people will be in even more dire situations than ours that should move us to express our concern for them NOW.


As Ed David suggested, there are so many creative ways by which we can show our love this Christmas.  It is said that Filipinos are expressive people and consequently, very creative in expressing their emotions.  So we should not run out of great ideas to show our brothers and sisters that Christ reigns in our hearts, not just at Christmas but always.


We can enjoy the season without the luxurious trappings that we normally associate with it.  We can light up a single lantern instead of stringing thousands and thousands

of lights around our homes and fences, and even our trees.  We can give gifts made by our hands that are totally expressive of our love, rather than spend precious pesos on meaningless gewgaws.  We can write letters that speak of our love.  We can pay personal visits to friends we seldom see.  A hug and a warm handshake speak greater volumes than any gift ever can.  We can say, and mean, the precious words “I love you.”  That, to a Christian, is a gift more costly than any thing store-bought.


As CFC, what can we do to enjoy this particular Christmas season?  Let us all revisit our households and the way we relate to each and every member.  Have we shown our members the love and care that, as household head, we are obligated to provide?  Have we asked after their welfare?  Are we aware of their problems and needs and have we given them our assurance of support in their own periods of stress and difficulty?  Have we fulfilled our basic roles as household heads, meaning, have we provided them with the pastoral care that is expected of us as their leaders?  Are they better persons and Christians because of our love for them?


During this season, how wonderful it would be if we all took time to pay our members (even past members) that personal visit that speaks of love and the special relationship that Jesus alone can bring.  Or else invite everyone to a simple repast and give them the gift of honoring and affirming them through our kind words, spoken in love and felt by the heart.  This kind of honoring and affirming is what has sustained CFC households through all the 27 years of its existence.


The “perfect storm” may be coming.  But we are unfazed because our perfect Christ and Savior is by our side. 


So we await the Redeemer’s coming this Christmas.  And we pay him the most perfect homage we can give – by loving our neighbor and witnessing to Christ’s presence in our lives.


A blessed Christmas to you all!