December is the best month of the year. There is a certain spring in our steps. The year is coming to an end; if it had been a bad year, we celebrate its ending and if it had been a good year, there is even more reason for a celebration. We are cheerful, noticeably less-tensed, more accepting of one another putting aside differences that pock-marked our relationship this year. Peace prevails.

We are buzzing, looking forward to fun times in the days ahead. We check our schedules, carefully fitting in all the invitations, determined not to miss any. We check and re-check our stock of food and wine, anxious that there will be no shortage, so that everyone will have a rockin’ time. We are preparing the way for our celebrations, making our schedules and resources straight.

“Prepare a way for the Lord. Make his paths straight”

In the malls, children choirs fill the air, their innocence blaring out “We are the world, we are the children, we are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving”. In the same malls, we hear the ting-a-ling of the bells from the Salvation Army reminding us to share with those who have less. We give. We are more generous this time of the year.

 And so this is the spirit Christmas brings.

For whatever our reason is for the season, and on whichever side we stand along the ‘politically correct’ divide between “Blessed Christmas” and “Happy Holidays”, regardless of whether we are religious or not, believers or otherwise, there can be absolutely nothing wrong with this spirit of giving. And the children sing, “Send them your heart so they’ll know that someone cares. And their lives will be stronger and free. As God has shown us by turning stones to bread, so we all must lend a helping hand”.

For us whose reason for the season is Christ, advent is a time to check and re-check our stock of food in the form of acts of goodness and wine in the form of our spirit of giving. We should rightfully be anxious of how we have lived this year, as to whether our schedules were maxed out with events of the world rather than those of God’s, on whether we have turned our stones of self-gratification into the bread of self-sacrifice. Advent is a time to stocktake on our life.

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near at hand”.

Advent is a time of repentance, not regret. Repentance is a form of preparation, not a ting-a-ling bell counting our past misdeeds. It is a time for resolutions and to acknowledge that there is good in everyone. It is an opportune time to make straight our life for love to flow through us so that we live what Christmas is about – to make the world a better place by loving the other person we meet on our path of life.

We all have this spirit of Christmas in us. Because a long time ago in a stable in Bethlehem a child was born into all of us. This child taught us how to give, and through his giving what love truly is.


Children choir singing ‘We are the World’ at Central Embassy mall in Bangkok


2nd Sunday of Advent