LAST CHRISTMAS MY CHILDREN AND I TEAMED UP WITH ANOTHER FAMILY TO SPREAD CHRISTMAS CHEER TO CHILDREN WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITIES. OUR PROGRAM CONSISTED OF MUSIC, CLOWNS, AND LOTS OF PERSONAL ATTENTION. BECAUSE THE CHILDREN’S DISABILITIES VARIED GREATLY FROM AUDIENCE TO AUDIENCE, WE NEVER QUITE KNEW WHAT TO EXPECT.
One show was hosted by an organization that assists disabled children from low-income families. When we arrived, one adorable toddler caught my attention immediately. A closer look revealed a breathing tube coming from his neck. I scanned the room and saw that about half of the other children there were also hooked up to breathing machines. All of the others, it turned out, were their siblings and friends.
Before our program started, the event organizers held a question-and-answer period with the parents, and I listened in. Most of the parents’ questions centered on their children’s oxygen needs—how much bottled oxygen was available to help get each child through the next couple of weeks, and so on.
After one of our clowns had gotten everyone laughing and our children had sung and danced their hearts out, it was my turn. I donned a clown costume and set out to make a balloon sculpture for each of the children in the audience.
As I worked my way through the room, I was moved by these children and their parents who all go through so much every day. I have three healthy, energetic kids. I don’t have to think about carrying enough oxygen whenever I take them out. I don’t have to closely monitor their every activity, lest they overdo and wind up gasping for air.
After all the balloon hats, swords, flowers, and dogs had been made, the children moved onto the dance floor, and I sat and watched, silently praying for them and thanking God for my own blessings. That was when I realized this is why I love Christmas. It’s a time for giving of ourselves—our time, our energy, our love—as well as a time for thanking and praising the One who blessed us with life and love and makes all good things possible.
Gabriela DeLorenzo is a member of the Family International in India.
Christmas is not made special by presents, decorations, and parties, but by what we give to Jesus and to others from our hearts. Giving from our hearts demonstrates true gratitude and appreciation for all God has given us.—Alex Peterson