Quezon City, the Philippines
December 25, 2010
It was my dad’s last Christmas.
Even as my family was walking through the valley of the shadow of death, the spirit of Christmas still sustained us. The birth of Immanuel, “God with us”, had been prophesied thousands of years before the first Christmas, but the prophecy is forever fulfilled in us, in love.
I was sitting at the top flight of the stairs that Christmas night after a steady stream of relatives and friends had gone, happy-sad at the sight of my mom and dad peacefully spending their last Christmas together, evoking the divine verses of Khalil Gibran:
When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.
In the midst of pain and loss, my parents took comfort in the cradle of God’s abundant love and overflowing peace. Surely that faithful love made manifest that Christmas night will follow me through all the Christmases to come, all the days of my life.