I still remember the moist smell of Christmas, the heavy dress, the bright lights, a reflection of the inner state of those who live for a spirit of greater love.
Here it’s summer and the sun brightens the magic of the smiles and of the tears shared during visits and the invitations to stay a little longer. The sun burns the landscape and highlights the humanity of a people not forgotten but rather a fighter, it shines on the heart and soul of all those who welcome me, of all those who visit.
Here I do not smell the evergreens or the smoke from lighted chimneys. Here we have the scent of humble human beings who share with you all that they have. I am surrounded by people who, by the witness of their lives, help mine grow and grow closer as we are nearer to God. It is the smell of expectation and hope that tomorrow, even with its difficulties, will be much better than today, coupled with a strong will to move forward, with a smile. It smells like a kitchen where folks are not preparing a great dinner, but rather their hearts to receive Jesus.
I have so much to learn from them.
Every day I allow myself to be moved by the witness of their lives. They are the lives of flesh and blood people, people who have nothing and share everything, who give me tears and smiles from dawn to dusk. People who touch my heart and transform me. I would not want a Christmas different from this one, because here I have met the family God dreamed for me. This Christmas I only want to be a refuge for hearts seeking peace, and God.
The fact is that at times we forget that the true essence of Christmas and of life itself consists in recognizing daily that life is a gift and, what we do with it, should be a daily option of love.
This Christmas, forget neatly wrapped gifts and give of yourself, such as a time to live and share with those you love and to seek forgiveness with those who, during the year, have challenged you. From here I will walk from home to home to visit those who are alive and life giving in my days.
This Christmas may your table be plentiful, not with an infinite quantity of sweets, but with love, hope, affection and unity. This Christmas allow yourself to be the light in other people’s life and be an agent of reconciliation and peace. Allow yourself to belong to and mingle with all those you love, that together you may appreciate the gift of life. This Christmas, allow your humble heart to be the manger where Jesus will be born.
Christmas is wherever there is the courage to dream, the daring to keep alive those dreams with eyes closed. May the security of interior silence inspire you to live a discovery of God in you, in others and in the world.
This Christmas I will do what I do every day and will offer the best of me to Milagros and his children, to Marcellina, Celia, María, Valentina, Ariana and their brothers, Martin, Luís and many more to whom my heart leads me.
Best Wishes of a Holy and Happy Christmas
With love and gratitude,
CLM, Neuza Francisco