‘Give thanks for the gift of life’

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CHRISTMAS SHOULD center on giving thanks, not on material gifts, as the birth of Jesus Christ reminds people of the gift of life, a Dominican priest said.

In his homily during the Christmas Mass, Fr. Dexter Austria, O.P. said material things are only supplements of what Christmas is all about. He reminded Catholics that Jesus Christ lends humans the priceless gift of life every day.

“Sometimes, our mind is focused on what we receive during the holiday season… But I hope we don’t forget that the first blessing and the most important blessing given by God is Jesus. Because everything that we receive is only a symbol of the blessing that has been given to us,” Austria said at the Santisimo Rosario Parish church on Dec. 25.

Gift-giving, Austria said, is an important token of individuals’ love for one another. But people should also recognize that real contentment only comes from the presence of God, the priest added.

“Perhaps for a day or two, we will be happy [with gifts]. But you will see, you will search and search, ‘why only this?’ As long as there is no true spirit of this holiday season, our Lord Jesus, we will not be happy,” he said.

Austria noted that aside from spreading the gift of love and gratitude, people are also called to spread the gift of forgiveness to heal the pain and burden in their hearts.

“Might as well we also give the gift of forgiveness to other people. Because if we are not able to forgive other people, we cannot escape from imprisonment… When we free our hearts and minds, we would learn how to forgive others. That’s when we will discover the so-called gift of peace—the peace in our hearts and minds,” he said.

Christmas, the annual Christian feast celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, is celebrated from Dec. 25 until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. It highlights the mystery of Incarnation, wherein God became a human being to save sinners. F

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