Saturday, December 22, 2012


I have always admired the cobblestones along the historic streets in Europe. I recently encountered these beautiful pathways again. Every stone reminded me of those who built these roads, carefully landscaping and placing each unique stone in its rightful place for the whole path to be perfect. Imagine, because of them, so many important people in world history have walked on these cobblestones. So many of their stories can be told by these streets.

As I continued to walk, I thought: How strong and resilient these roads must be to last for centuries (even longer) for all generations to enjoy! Thanks mostly to those who first laid down each stone, these streets have withstood the test of time.

I guess the road to Christmas is the same. If Christ is coming - the most important figure in our history - shouldn't we better prepare the road for Him? A road as strong as these cobblestone paths. Nothing flamboyant, only good old simple walkways that stay strong and intact through the years.

To pave the road for Christmas, it is key to recognize the gifts we have received and will give along the way. The most recent gift we have received is the elevation of Archbishop Chito Tagle to Cardinal by the Holy Father. During the consistory, an air of national pride, honor, as well as a humbling sense of gratitude, was felt within the sacred walls of St. Peter's Basilica. 

Yet as Cardinal Tagle said, it is a big responsibility to carry; a responsibility shared by each and everyone of us. We thank God for the gift of having such a wise, wholistic and heartstrong man like him to represent us Filipinos in the Church.

The road to Christmas cannot be traveled without looking back to the image of the "Belen". We have been so accustomed to the romanticized image of the Belen as "cute" or "colorful" or "nice" that we sometimes forget its grim history. To be upfront, the true Belen wasn't nearly cute or nice and happy.

The road to Bethlehem that Joseph and Mary took is most difficult for a poor man and his young, pregnant wife. To give birth in an animal's manger is unimaginable! Inhuman! Mary must have been so cold, hungry, scared and uncomfortable just like any human. Joseph must have also felt fear for his wife and child Jesus, trying to man up and rise above the pressure of providing for and taking care of his family in such stringent conditions.

Christ, as God the Son, allowed for Himself to be born in such a lowly manner, to humble himself and give not just a part of Him but His whole being for humanity. Their sacrifices should never be forgotten. As we look at the Christmas Belen, let us always remember the example each of these "characters" has shown.

Like the composition of unique cobblestones on historic streets, the road to Christmas is not as smooth and as easy as we'd like it to be. It is the road less traveled, chosen only by those who pave it with the true gift of God's love. 

If this road could talk, it is our fervent wish they could speak of stories of compassion, kindness and love in the spirit of the Christmas season. Stories and virtues - good deeds - that are strongly founded and resilient enough to withstand the test of time.

Let us walk in the ways of Jesus, Mary and Joseph as we journey through the road to Christmas.


Rev. Fr. Vic. Y. Apacible