La Sierra Assistant Chaplain Martin Corona’s story about family holidays, generosity and being present for others.
Growing up in a six-member family which included my parents, two sisters and one brother was exciting. My brother and I were closer in age, therefore we spent the majority of time playing outdoors. During any holiday break the neighbors knew we were at home because you could hear the revolution going on — running from one entrance of the house and out the other, playing tag with the neighborhood kids, including yelling at the top of our lungs racing up the hill and down the hill riding our bikes.
Although my parents faced the challenges of being low socioeconomic status, my mom stayed at home tending to the needs of the kids and the home. My father on the other hand worked manual labor to provide financially. During the holidays it was common for my mom to cook traditional dishes such as tamales, champurrado and buñuelos. Several hours before Christmas Eve, it was exciting to wait for the announcement of my mom’s tamales. I remember rushing to the table with great appetite to eat with the family and other guests. I can’t remember a time where it was only our immediate family at the table, but also other’s neighbors and many of the kids that we played with.
My mom, Maria has a saying, “Donde comen dos, comen tres.” It literally translates to, “Where two eat, three also eat.” You see, she lives with an uncommon outlook, where beyond circumstances there is a generosity in that what she cooked was enough for more than the immediate family.
As I look back at my mom’s outlook toward our neighbors it reminds me of the prophet Isaiah’s outlook toward the coming of Jesus and what it meant for God to be with humanity. The way that God would reveal Himself would change the way we would see God in proximity. Jesus was going to be conceived by a vulnerable teenager in some of the most vulnerable circumstances and his name was Immanuel which means ‘God with us.’
This holiday season we can remember that God is generous, God is loving, Jesus Christ is with us and the Holy Spirit is within us. God is a God of proximity. This holiday season we can look for or create opportunities to be a tangible presence of love and stand in solidarity with others.
Here are some ideas:
- Invite students who are far from family these holidays for dinner.
- Make cookies for your co-workers.
- Make time to share a meal with someone.
- Take time to verbalize your appreciation toward someone.
- Volunteer at a holiday church service.
- Serve at a local shelter.
- Practice kindness.
- Make time to be present.