"I’m participating in the KEEP CHRIST in CHRISTMAS Blog Link-Up 2013
sponsored by the Catholic Bloggers Network.
Be sure to visit as many links as possible,
listed at the bottom of this post.
It isn’t going to be Christmas as usual for many Filipinos this year. There won’t be bright lights dangling on Christmas trees or even homes to decorate. There will be missing family members. There are hearts lingering in despair and tempted to believe Jesus has abandoned them or that Jesus never came.
This pressing situation bequeathes our family with unique opportunities to spend a meaningful Advent as we vacation in the Philippines. So on the Eve of Advent, I visited an evacuation center where victims of Haiyan/Yolanda were indefinitely housed. A group of friends and I prayed for the refugees, distributed rosaries (which disappeared as fast as the latest i-phones), and randomly spoke with some families to determine what they needed.
“You are blessed to have a baby to hold,” I said.
She agreed and then eagerly shared her harrowing tale. They’d been relocated to a three story warehouse before the storm. When the storm surge hit and the waters rose, they were instructed to climb up the roof. She and her entire family were holding on for dear life and what she said choked out more sobs out of me.
“I was very thankful that if we were going to die, we were all together,” she said. “And then after we were safe, I was thankful we made it out of Tacloban and that a kind doctor came and asked if my daughter wanted to have the baby in her clinic.”
When I got ahold of myself, I asked the mother what she needed and she responded that some baby clothes and diapers would be much appreciated. I promised to return with my children to give out diapers and baby clothes to her and some other mothers with babies. I’ve always loved the concept of an Advent baby shower for Jesus, which we did last year by donating diapers to our local pro-life center. But an Advent Baby Shower for this particular baby would be explosively significant for me.
When I got up to go, the grandmother with remarkable gratitude attitude had the compassion to comfort me: “In God’s mercy, you will have your own baby to hold someday.”
I went to the evacuation center thinking I was so blessed to have skirted the disaster of a typhoon but clearly, the grandmother and her daughter had something I wanted: a baby, who like Jesus, brings faith, hope and charity. Through them, God gave me the precious gift of what Advent is about: waiting in grateful, joyful hope.
I hope you find it in your hearts to give generously to the typhoon victims this Advent and pray that they never, ever lose hope. God will surely return your blessing a hundredfold.
Visit these participating blogs for awesome posts about Keeping Christ in Christmas!
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