Advent – what does it mean? Is it synonymous to Christmas? Or Hanukah? Literally, it means “watchful waiting” (Latin “adventus”to come.) For Christians, it means the coming of the Messiah; for Jews, it means getting ready for the coming of the Savior. As we move into “watchful waiting”, let us focus of what this really means to us. Our lectures in the degrees constantly point to whom we should be focusing on. We must continually learn what values to develop and virtues to learn. And in the wake of Thanksgiving Day, to always be thankful to the Source and Giver of Life.
There is always the commercial aspect of our celebrations that often distracts us from focusing on the Way, the Truth and the Life. Let us, as one body, resolve to keep the reason for the season.
THANKSGIVING: IF IT’S REAL, EXPRESS IT!
With all the events filling up our calendars every year, one could appreciate the breadth of milestones that come our way. We have set aside special days to celebrate and honor special events and people . Birthdays, anniversaries, Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparents Day, Valentine’s Day, Independence Day. This month started with All Saints Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and ends with Bonifacio Day.
The good things about the observance of these events allow us to focus and reflect on the significance and value of the persons or events they represent. On the contrary, by celebrating these special days or persons, we tend to limit their importance and value to just that specific day. For the rest of the year that value or person recedes into oblivion until next year.
Thanksgiving Day may just another day in the year. But for most of us, this day carries with it a special meaning. In times like these, when much of the world is in turmoil – when people are dying from the ravages of war, disease and poverty, in pursuit of freedom – we have indeed a lot to be thankful for. Thankful for the freedoms we enjoy; thankful for family and friends; thankful for opportunities to make ourselves better people. And much more.
“Waking up everyday above the ground” said a hotel attendant, “is enough reason to give thanks to the Lord! “ To this man, Thanksgiving Day is everyday. And indeed it should be!
A survey was done that randomly asked a few thousand people, “What are the top ten items you are thankful for?” Topping list was family, job, wealth, new home, vacation, etc. but none mentioned being thankful to God. God was not among the top ten. Not a single person realized that all these blessings they receive come from the Author and Giver of Life! Without Him laying down the guidelines of how to live a blessed and blessing life, we are “like a boat without a sail.”
God does not compel us to give thanks. But when we do, life takes on a different meaning. It raises life beyond possessions. Or the pursuit of worldly treasures. It embeds a quality of life full of grace that reflects the generous gifts of a loving God.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, let it be a day to be experienced. And if that experience is real, it obligates us to express it. My dear brother, did you experience something you are thankful for today? If your experience is real, you must express it!
Sylvester Almiron, Jr., WM
Our Masonic Journey: Not Enough to be Good!
Look at what is happening in Libya,.Yemen. Syria. Iraq. Afghanistan. Egypt. All in the Middle East. People fighting for freedom. For justice. For life! Regular people. Never trained for combat. Boys. Men and women. Never again should love ones die simply because their life did not matter. They did not belong. Tyranny. Greed. Unbridled power. Resulting in pain. Bloodshed. “O Death, where is thy sting?”
We live in a nation where freedom reigns. We pledge to be faithful to the truth, equality and justice for all. Life is a gift. We belong to each other. We have faith and do good works. We strive to be good. But being good is not enough! When goodness takes shape, it shows through our works.
My brother, what have you done to show what you believe?
Sylvester B. Almiron, Jr.
Jose Rizal Lodge 1172