Summary: The most wonderful treasures of this world are the relationships that we cultivate. The most beautiful gift that you can give to another human being is our time and affection.

Carpe diem Seize the day

He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him (John 1:11)

December 26, 2010

We’ve all heard the saying: “You don’t appreciate what you have until you lose it.”

This happens more frequently during Christmas, causing stress and depression.

The running about and the urge to buy the perfect gift, to prepare the perfect meal or dessert, to find the right dress (or suit), often times pulls us away from the most important things in our lives: our human and divine relationships.

It’s sad that only when death comes near our door, we learn to value the relationships that still remain. With this as a lesson, but not for too long, we begin to appreciate and take advantage of the little time we have with our loved ones. We have to admit that relatively speaking, our days in this world are few. And that is why we ought to take advantage and not allow key moments in our lives to escape us.

That is the ideal. However, it amazes me the way in which, knowing that life is fragile and temporary, we place more emphasis on material things, in the temporal things, than on the persons that are important to us.

I invite you to place yourself in the shoes of the following individuals:

Grandchild calling grandpa in the nursing home: “Hi grandpa. I’m sorry but I can’t come to visit you today because I have to finish buying and packing up my Christmas gifts. Merry Christmas. Love you. Bye. He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him.

Church member to pastor: “Pastor, tomorrow I can’t go to church because I’m very tired… I’ve worked all week, plus, tonight we’re going to a Christmas party and will be up all night.” Put yourself in God’s shoes. He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him.

Daughter calling mom in the hospital: “Mom, I can’t come to visit you today because I have to put up my Christmas tree and I have people coming over. Merry Christmas. Bye.” He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him

Father to son who is in baseball championship game: “Son, I can’t be at your game today because it’s during work hours and I have a meeting with a very important client.” What is the father saying? That a client is more important than the son. He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him.

In each of the scenarios, a person is telling the other that they have something more important than him/her.

Life is fragile and short. We can’t assume that grandpa, mom, the son, or even the church will be alive tomorrow. Yes, even churches die due to lack of warmth and commitment.

How often have we heard “I want roses while I’m alive”. Nevertheless, we place our most loved persons in the back of the line, behind parties and consumerism, reasoning that “they will understand and forgive.” That’s our line of reasoning, until our loved person leaves this world. When we allow special moments to escape, there’s no way to recapture the past.

Carpe diem is a latin phrase that means “seize the day”, or, “don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” That’s what my wife Margarita has told me for as far back as I can remember (I’m really a slow learner – ask her). But I confess that after 35 years, I’m learning to do what I’m asked, when I’m asked, and enjoy serving my neighbor as if I was doing it “unto The Lord Jesus.

I’ve always admired my wife’s relationship with her mother. Since we got married, almost every day, my wife would call her mother to say hello. And when my in-laws moved back to Greece, during the last 15 years, at 10 am every Saturday, Margarita was on the phone speaking to her mother.

I thank God because my daughter is taking after mom. Sophia calls her mom, not every day, but at least four times per week, and she also calls me, especially when Margarita is out of the country for an extended time.

My parents also retired to Ecuador in the early nineties. One of the things I regret is that I didn’t make an effort to stay in frequent contact with my mother. It was not my habit. However, what I would give now to hear her warm loving words!

When we allow special moments to escape us, there is no way to recapture the past. When we don’t make space to share special moments with our loved ones, we are telling them “you are not that important.” In other words, He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him.

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