Christmas Lessons from a 6th Grader

One of the joys of working with Ethné’ is the holiday season and the chance to bring a bit of relief and hope to many of the poor kids in our partnering schools in the Southern Philippines.  Every Christmas the neediest kids of the local elementary school are invited to attend a party where they receive a special meal, some snacks, reading materials, and Tom’s shoes (in partnership with Convoy of Hope).  We also play some fun games centered around the hope of the great Christmas story of giving.  Kids also have a chance to win a backpack or even a bicycle!

What is amazing about these events is the privilege of entering into that old adage that it is “more blessed to give than receive.”  The joy of seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces as they participate in the party is immeasurable, but little did we know that joy would turn into a deeply impressionable moment as we encountered one little girl.

We had just raffled off a number of the bicycles, which is quite a sight to see as kids win something entirely out of their economic reach.  When the winner of the larger 6th grade bicycle was announced, a small-framed girl excitedly made her way to the front to claim her prize!  As she grasped the new bike, it was apparent to all of us that the bike was too large for her.  After congratulating her, Connie quickly told her that we will gladly exchange the bike for a smaller one, but she exclaimed with a teary-eyed smile, “No thank you, I want to give this as a gift to my daddy…so he can ride it to work.”  She beamed with a gleam of triumph, pride, and inexpressible joy that she could help her dad!  What a moving moment for us all.

So this is Christmas among the plight of the poor.  No entitlement or self-focus, but just simply an attitude that says, “We are in this together.  Together we survive and thrive.  It’s not parents living for their children, but it is everyone for everyone!”  Thank you to this little friend who taught us all something that day about Christmas!