“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” —1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Sitting inside that beautiful Church on the first night of Simbang Gabi is always special. It was my first time in Gesu again after moving in and out of Katipunan for the past couple of years. And it couldn’t have been a better welcome.
Earlier that day, I visited my cousins who had just lost their father to a quick and swift but not any less painful bout with cancer. I had not seen them in years and all I could offer was a hug and a listening ear. Because I know that there really is nothing you can say to comfort someone who has just lost someone they love. Especially so close to Christmas.
That day, 20 children, who had yet to grow up, realize their dreams, and grow into themselves, had lost their lives to someone who could probably have been a child himself. How do you feel safe when terrible things happen to good people?
Today is the third Sunday of Advent and we light the pink candle of the Advent wreath. Pink symbolizes joy. The joy in our hearts that we know He is coming. That even when things aren’t going our way, we know that we are safe because of Him. Joy can be a lot of things. It can be in the trivial things like a gift that greets you when you come in to work. Or a cup of your favorite coffee. But it can also be something infinite. Like sitting in a living room that doesn’t feel like home, but being in the company of people who feel like family. Who are family. Condensing ten years into two hours, and conveying words through a big, tight hug.
Fr. Huang said during his Homily that when we pray, we should give thanks. Whether our prayer has been answered, has yet to be answered, or will not be answered in the way that we want, we should always say thank you. Beautiful words that are too true. So even if there are things that don’t seem to be in our plans, or there are external forces that try to convince you that life is any less than amazing, think again. Give thanks because there is always more joy in our lives than we think.