It was early Christmas morn and our doorbell rang even though my boys are still in their pajamas they rushed to the window and greeted the visitors from the South, all 12 of were strangers to us. The children began yelling through our gate asking if we could give them their “navidad” (Christmas present). Their ages range from 8 month to 14 years of age, and they all gave me this hopeful smile.
A little background on that day up until when the doorbell rang: Presents were opened, Christmas breakfast had been served and we were sitting around and enjoying each others company as we tried to assemble toys and played with the kids while carols played loudly in the background.
I sat there taking it all in because my cup runneth over. Truly I am blessed and these hungry unkept little children begging behind our black metal gate were reminding me of this.
I was overcome with emotion. I didn’t really know how to bless 10 little kids, so I thought quickly. I ran inside and announced to my family, “Assembly line, we have lunches to make.”
Thank God we had just bought ham, bread and lots of snacks. I ran back outside and told them to give us 5 minutes and we would give them lunch. We do OPERATION BROWN BAG with our kids so they were very familiar to assembly line ,lunch making. Usually, though we go out to the streets and find the children who are juggling for money or selling candy at stop lights or the park we weren’t used to them coming to our home.
But not that Christmas morning, the Lord brought them to us, our very own front door to remind me that I have been given much. My boys were hesitant at first in helping make lunches because that meant leaving their new toys for a few minutes. I looked at them and said in my most stern but loving voice, “Today you have been given much now it’s time to give to others“.
Immediately, their attitudes changed and we got the lunches made. The kids sat right outside our curb and immediately ate the lunches. The kids and two mom’s were so sweet, they continuously said “Dios te pague” (God repay you) and wished us a Merry Christmas.
It was such an honor to welcome these little visitors from the South. Enjoy the holidays and may you also be blessed with the joy of giving. It’s exactly what I needed to be reminded of that Christmas morning that the willingness to share of our blessings is what opens up our hearts to compassion and helps us see people for who they are not what they need.
Some background information on our expat living: A lot of the low-income families live South and North of us (we are kind of int the middle in the more developed area of town) and they take a bus early in the morning to come into the big city to sell their goods. Depending on the season it varies sometimes strawberries or avocados and candy. Sometimes they travel for hours on a bus to come into town and try to make a buck or two. Christmas weekend they go to the more developed neighborhoods asking for some kind of Christmas gift: toys, candy or money.