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They were people, too

By BARBARA GONZALEZ- VENTURA, The Philippine STAR Published Dec 26, 2020 4:00 pm

What do I write about during this dead time of the year? It’s like we rushed to get the belen ready to remind us of the birth of our Baby Jesus, that adorable curly-haired infant lying in a bed of hay in a manger. I always see the belen as a still photograph. There lies the Baby Jesus with His eyes closed. He doesn’t move His hands or kick His little legs. He just lies there.

Beside Him is His mother, eyes downcast with a tiny smile on Her lovely, serene face. Behind her stands St. Joseph, looking into the distance. None of them move.

On the side are the Magi who brought gold, frankincense and myrrh. They stand there holding their gifts. It took me more than 70 years to find out that frankincense was once considered the “‘holy anointing oil’ in the Middle East and has been used in religious ceremonies for thousands of years. It was well known during the time of Christ for its anointing and healing powers. Used to treat every conceivable ill known to man, frankincense was valued more than gold during ancient times, and only those with great wealth and abundance possessed it. It is mentioned in one of the oldest known medical records, Ebers Papyrus (dating from 16th century BC), an ancient Egyptian list of 877 prescriptions and recipes.”

This quote comes from a small, thick book I now own called Essential Oils Pocket Reference. It further says that frankincense is used as a cure for “depression, cancer, respiratory infections, inflammation” and is “immune-stimulating.” Today, frankincense has been revived and is available either in Young Living or Healthy Options.

The Holy Family were people, too. I think that is one thing the people (all men) who wrote or interpreted the Bible forgot about. They were people who needed to eat, sleep, bathe like all the rest of us.

In that same papyrus document myrrh is listed as an oil used “for many skin conditions such as chapped and cracked skin and wrinkles.” Wrinkles! I must use some under my eyes!

Now it seems that when we were children we thought gold was the best gift the Three Kings brought. We were misinformed by the nuns in school. Frankincense was only available to the very rich and myrrh’s fragrance influence (if you sniff it), according to my little book, “promotes spiritual awareness and is uplifting. It contains sesquiterpenes, which stimulate the limbic system of the brain (the center of memory and emotions) and the hypothalamus, pineal and pituitary glands. The hypothalamus is the master gland of the human body, producing many vital hormones, including thyroid and growth hormone.” I know I involuntarily introduced you to some big, complicated words. Never mind; you don’t have to remember them. I had to put them in just to introduce you to myrrh. 

And today, if you’re lucky, you can find myrrh also in Healthy Options and in Young Living. If you are lucky. Sometimes you have to order it from the US through Young Living. I didn’t think Christmas or the belen would do this, but now here I am recommending Young Living to you.

Remember, once a long time ago, I wrote about being introduced to Young Living by a niece? I thought it somewhat resembled healing by our arbolaryos, which in English means herbalists. A few years ago I took the course and wrote about it. Some thought it turned you into a witch who would cast evil spells. No, it’s about healing oils, which I now realize have been revived and which also work. It is not witchcraft. It just reveals to us data we did not know before. If you need or want more information, please text Gina Evangelista at 0920-921-8308. She will give you more information about healing oils. Not about witch spells. 

Back to the belen, which we have not understood well. I think the people in it — St. Joseph and Mama Mary — were just too exhausted to move. In between events — the shepherds coming in, the Three Kings arriving —there was plenty of time. Maybe way off to the side, outside the camera lens, there were beds of hay where they could sleep, where Mama Mary could breastfeed her little baby and change his diapers. Who washed the baby’s diapers? They were cloth then. There were no disposable diapers yet.

The Holy Family were people, too. I think that is one thing the people (all men) who wrote or interpreted the Bible forgot about. They were people who needed to eat, sleep, bathe like all the rest of us. So we tend to see them as photographs or tableaus of statues that are just there, posing. And maybe that’s what made it easy to commercialize Christmas. Look at the belen. Nice, no? Now rush and go shopping for the Christmas gifts, which you have to wrap and write cards for and deliver. Then die of exhaustion.

 That’s when you realize: they were people, too. They must have been as exhausted as you.

 In this year 2020, at last, let me wish all of you a Peaceful New Year!

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