One of the things I truly loved and appreciated in Ima is her practice of always going out of her way to visit friends and family. I remember during Christmas day, we would always make the rounds of families and relatives. I thoroughly enjoyed this because it meant delicious foods, lots of presents and the chance to meet and play with cousins and friends. She would also go and drop in on friends, often unannounced, and just spend time with them. I loved to tag along and just listen to them talking. She also loved to receive friends and family at home and entertain them. She would always quickly cook a meal or whip up a quick merienda over which stories are shared and updates on the latest in each of their lives exchanged.
Visits are blessings and they strengthen the bonds of family and friendships. I love it that I have inherited Ima‘s love and practice of visiting friends and family. I always look forward to seeing people who are dear to me who live in their own houses. Those who are dearest to me live with me in our home, be it in San Jose, Santa Clara or Filinvest. But there are a host of other people I deeply care for who stay in their own houses and live their own lives. To show them my care and love, I visit them. The oftener, the better. Through visits, I am physically present to them. We make and store memories to tide us over till the next time we would meet again.
One of the things that make me uncomfortable these days is the feeling I get that visits can sometimes be seen as an imposition or a bother to others. There is the preparations and the cleaning up afterwards that make such visits inconvenient. Not to mention that one has to make house to properly receive visitors. So, there are times I feel that people would rather not make nor receive visits. Or, to just meet up with friends and family outside in some restaurant or resort. Half the fun and all the intimacy of a home visit are gone.
Visits to a home are more meaningful. We literally bring blessings to the people we visit, like Elizabeth felt blessed by Mary’s visit to her. Mary was herself pregnant and had to travel a long way to visit her cousin. But she made the effort to go. And the joy of Elizabeth and the child in her womb were immeasurable. And it was at that visit, that Mary broke out in song, singing her Magnificat.
When we visit friends and family, is it possible that God is also visiting with us?
Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”