MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR
The story of the birth of Jesus describes the tremendous faith, trust and obedience of the principal persons involved – Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and three wise men.
Mary was caught completely off guard when the angel told her she was soon to give birth to a baby boy. She was confused and perplexed because she was not yet married to Joseph and thought it was impossible for her to be pregnant. The angel assured her the Holy Spirit would take care of her and so she should not be afraid. Mary readily accepted the huge task and responsibility of being the mother of Jesus.
Joseph, engaged to Mary, was distraught to learn that Mary was expecting to give birth to a baby that did not belong to him. He decided to leave Mary but an angel told him in a dream that the child was from the Holy Spirit. The angel also told Joseph that he must not be afraid to marry Mary. Joseph obediently followed the angel’s instructions and fulfilled the role of Mary’s husband.
The shepherds who were keeping watch over their sheep in the field were startled and terrified when an angel suddenly appeared to them and told them about the birth of Jesus. They overcame their initial fear when the angel comforted them and told them where the child was born. Inspired by the good news brought by the angel, they immediately decided to go and see the newborn child.
The three wise men who saw a special bright star in the sky decided to follow it for many miles because they believed it would lead them to where a new baby was born and who was to be the king of the Jews.
Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and three wise men all displayed a strong faith and trust in the message they received about the birth of Jesus and responded positively in celebrating the first and greatest Christmas of all in a stable in Bethlehem. We pray that you also will celebrate this Christmas with a strong faith and trust in God’s love and mercy and acceptance of His plan for you.
May you and your family be blessed with lasting peace, love, comfort and joy during this Christmas season and throughout the New Year!
Leslie & Carmen Chin
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR
“Joy to the world, the Lord is come, let earth receive her King!”
These words of the popular carol exhort us to celebrate the birth of Jesus with our hearts full of joy. There is every reason to be joyful in welcoming baby Jesus into our midst. His birth marked the start of a new way of life for all – a life of faith, hope, love, forgiveness, compassion, humility, respect, peace. Throughout His life on earth, He taught, encouraged and challenged us to accept and follow His teachings.
The predominant current events of violent behavior causing death and suffering among so many people and the loss of loved ones this past year could dampen our spirit of joy during this Christmas season. Some of our relatives and friends may also be experiencing the effects of serious illness. So while we celebrate with joy, we remember and pray for all those who are not so fortunate to enjoy the festivity of this special time of the year.
Perhaps this year, we could all experience a deeper feeling of true joy that we have never felt before. With this in mind, I wish you all –
- The joy of peace – in spirit, mind and body
- The joy of hope – in all your dreams and aspirations
- The joy of faith – in all your beliefs and commitments
- The joy of trust – in God’s promises
- The joy of gratitude – for all your blessings, large and small
- The joy of patience – in every stressful situation
- The joy of forgiveness – in times of hurt feelings
- The joy of humility – in appreciating satisfying accomplishments
- The joy of compassion – for those who are poor and homeless
- The joy of encouragement – for those who are sick and dying
- The joy of listening – in times of quiet reflections
- The joy of love – in loving others and being loved
May you and your family be blessed with the peace, love and joy of Christ during this holy season and may the joyful spirit of Christmas be with all of you throughout the New Year!
Leslie & Carmen Chin
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR
During this time of Advent, we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas day. We anticipate with great excitement the moments of joy as we greet each other with good wishes, warm smiles, hugs and kisses. It’s a time to celebrate with dining, singing, dancing and sharing happy times with family and friends.
It is also a time to reflect on the reason Jesus was born into this world – to be our Saviour and Redeemer. He taught us a new way of life – love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and our neighbour as ourselves.
Perhaps this year, as we think of Jesus being born in a stable and laying in a manger, we could also imagine His spirit resting in our in heart, filling us with peace that He alone can give. Let us all yearn faithfully for this peace that comes not from worldly possessions but from a deep and loving relationship with Jesus our Lord.
Recent tragic events tell us that the world is in dire need of conversion and healing of hearts and minds that have turned away from God. Celebrating the birth of Jesus reminds us that we are all one family. We should therefore pray diligently for each other’s needs, especially for those who have suffered from acts of violence. We should also pray for God’s help in bringing peace to the world, especially places afflicted by violent conflicts. And in accordance with Pope Francis’ designation of the year 2016 as Holy Year of Mercy, we are encouraged to heal and strengthen our relationships by embracing and performing acts of mercy to others in our daily lives and to ask for God’s mercy for our own errors in judgement, attitude and behaviour toward others. Let us all persevere with faith and trust in God’s help and guidance to bring lasting peace and goodwill to all through our acts of love and mercy.
May you and your family be blessed with the peace and joy of Christ during this holy season and may the spirit of Christ be with all of you throughout the New Year!
Leslie and Carmen Chin
HAPPY NEW YEAR
The unexpected passing of several of my dear friends this year has brought me much sadness and caused me to reflect on the importance of living our lives in preparation for the day when our time in this life comes to an end. As family and friends gathered to say goodbye to their loved ones and to celebrate their lives, we prayed for God’s mercy and blessings for them as they journey to their home in heaven.
At this time of the year, it is our custom to gather with family and friends to celebrate the start of a new life here on earth – the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. On that silent and holy night, the star shone brightly above the humble stable where Jesus was born as the shepherds and kings joined Mary and Joseph in marvelous adoration of the baby fast asleep in the manger. The kings brought precious gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh and the angels sang beautiful songs of joy to the world.
Like the three kings in the nativity story, we also offer gifts to our family and friends in celebrating Christmas. These gifts are an expression of love and friendship that connect us to each other. The thought occurred to me of giving a gift to Jesus, not the infant, but our Risen Lord and Redeemer. What gifts could we offer that would be pleasing to him?
- – Trust in God’s love and mercy
- – Be compassionate and forgiving
- – Share words of comfort and encouragement
- – Be generous with acts of kindness
- – Be always thankful for all of God’s gifts
- – Obey God’s will
Maybe we could package all these gifts in an all-in-one gift – Love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and our neighbour as ourselves. We will know for sure that Jesus is pleased with our gift when he says – “Come and inherit the kingdom prepared for you.”
May you and your family be blessed with the peace and joy of Christ during this holy season and may the spirit of Christmas be with all of you throughout the New Year!
HAPPY NEW YEAR
Christmas Letter 2013
In my Christmas Letter last year, I reflected on the Peace of Christ that I thought was lacking in the hearts of so many people in the world today. The continuing unrest that is happening in a lot of countries around the world shows that there is still a great need for perseverance in striving for the conversion of peoples’ heart and mind to the healing peace and love of Christ.
It is understandable that people may grow weary of pursuing what seems to be an illusive dream- Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All. Yet, it is advisable to remember that God’s ways are not our ways and His time is not our time. The birth of Jesus, Son of God and Redeemer of the World, was foretold hundreds of years before that event actually took place.
This year, my thoughts led me to the subjects of faith, hope and trust – faith in God’s love, hope in His mercy and trust in His promise of care and protection. In times of deep despair and depression, I imagine that it is very easy to lose our faith, hope and trust in God’s blessings. In such circumstances, the act of praying becomes a difficult task. Supportive prayer, by family, friends and community groups, is therefore such an important and desirable act of Christian love that should be encouraged and pursued with true compassion and humility in obeying Jesus’ command that we should love one another with all our heart, our mind and our soul. Perhaps we could all offer a special prayer this Christmas as a gesture of loving and caring support for all those we know who are in need of prayers and make a determined effort to continue this practice regularly.
In the face of adversity and difficult challenges, I usually ask for God’s help in giving me strength, courage and wisdom to deal with the issues that confront me. I try to do this immediately when the need arises. Sometimes I forget that God is always at my side, ready and willing to answer my call for help, and I try to solve problems on my own. I find this thought very helpful in such situations – Just do my best, God will do the rest.
Carmen and I pray that you and your family will be blessed with good health and a fervent spirit of peace and joy during this Christmas season and throughout the New Year and that your faith, hope and trust in God’s blessings will remain strong through difficult times.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
Christmas Letter 2012
On the beautiful, silent, holy night in Bethlehem when Jesus was born in a humble stable, the angels proclaimed “Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace among those whom he favours.” Truly, there was a deep sense of love and adoration as Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and three wise men gazed upon the newborn infant. Even the animals showed respect.
As I prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus during this Christmas season, I reflect upon the lack of peace in so many parts of the world today. Acts of violence are committed unceasingly among peoples of different nations, religions and cultures. Little children are among the many victims of the rampant violence that occurs almost daily. There seems to be no solution to end the senseless acts of violence taking place. The road to true and lasting peace is obscure and full of roadblocks and detours.
My reflections led me to the words spoken by Jesus – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” Perhaps, if people had the Peace of Christ deep within their hearts, the road to true and lasting peace in the world would be clearer and easier to travel.
So, my wishes for you this Christmas are – May you and your family be blessed with the Peace of Christ. May you also be comforted by the Holy Spirit in times of sorrow, strengthened in times of distress, protected in times of danger, enlightened in times of uncertainty and may you enjoy good health throughout the New Year.
Joy to the World! Peace on Earth!
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