Christmas at the orphanage is always packed full of joy and laughter. Simple pleasures and gifts are met with shining eyes a delighted smiles. It’s hard to imagine a happier chaos.
Each year, we begin by gathering the children and the ayis around and reading the Christmas story. This year they listened quietly, even raptly, to the Luke 2 recounting of the birth of Jesus. It’s always touching to contemplate how God wove adoption into His own Son’s story (by having His earthly father, Joseph, care for Him through adoption), in order that one day we might be adopted as His sons and daughters.
After giving the ayis our gifts of appreciation to them, for loving and caring for the children week in and week out, the craziness of celebrating with the children began. Local believers had outdone themselves collecting specific items for the children…
…and the boxes of gifts just kept coming!
It didn’t take the kids long to start opening their presents.
As always, shoes were probably the most popular gift.
There’s something about new shoes of their own that captivates a child…
…and fills them with joy.
Warm coats and wraps were layered on and modeled by their proud new owners.
Beautiful outfits were properly admired.
While the babies were content to just be cuddled and watch the happy activity.
God supplied so abundantly; it was overwhelming how many practical, warm, lovely, and durable things the children received.
Of course, what would Christmas be without toys? Like any children, the orphans delighted in playing with their prizes.
What Christmas experience would be complete without playing with the boxes and paper?
At first they weren’t quite sure what to think of this new activity…
But they soon got over it, and reveled in the glorious mess of it.
As wonderful as it all was, as fabulously excited as the children were, I couldn’t help but think of the present they all need most…the gift of a family. Clothes, shoes, toys, those are great blessings, but none of them can compare with the joy of family, and having a mommy and daddy of their very own. I’m reminded of that when I listen to this song by Steven Curtis Chapman. It’s been around a long time, but when I hear it, I’m always brought to tears thinking of the truth it conveys. What these children really want, what they need, is love and a family.
Please, pray for them as we enter this new year, fresh with promise and opportunity. Perhaps this is the year God will bring some of them a family.
After all, how great would it be to have this sweetheart under your tree next year?