Saturday, December 25, 2010

CHRISTMAS VISIT

In December 2006, I was able to go with a wonderful bunch of college-aged people with the group Kaiizen to the El Sauzal Orphanage in Mexico. I had gone several times before just for weekend trips to play with the children living there and work on various service projects. This trip was special though. It was our Christmas visit. Many of us worked to fundraise money, went shopping for items we gathered from the children's wish lists, and wrapped the gifts. There were even a few brave guys who dressed as Santa and his elves.


After playing/working all day, it was time for Santa to bring presents! Volunteers stood in two lines facing each other and held hands to create a tunnel and after each gift was handed to the child whose name was on the tag, they went through the tunnel.


I am sure each child loved the present he/she received, however, I am more certain the look on their faces as they individually went through and received attention was priceless. The tunnel of love soon became a tradition in visits to come.


This experience helped me realize that because I have been given much, I too must give. I learned Christmas isn't just about singing carols, seeing lights, putting up decorations, making cookies, attending parties, and getting presents. Rather it is a time of reflection on the birth of the Savior, a time of celebration and generosity.


"The Grinch saw the good in Christmas when he learned to look past its worldly trappings. If we do the same, we can, with the Grinch, proclaim: “Maybe Christmas . . . doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas . . . perhaps . . . means a little bit more!” (DIETER F. UCHTDORF, "Seeing Christmas through New Eyes," 2010 First Presidency Christmas Devotional)

Since that Christmas visit, I have learned to be a little more kind, a little more generous, and lot more grateful for the little things I have and the opportunity to share with others.

9 comments:

Shannon Henrici www.mybabyclothesboutique.com said...

Thank you so much for this post! I really needed that message. Sometimes you get so caught up in celebrating and trying to make sure your family enjoys the holiday - you forget the real meaning. You have inspired me to do more volunteer work and to give back. Thank you for this inspiration!

Jerry said...

miss ya! miss dec. 2006 fun times.

deanna said...

Those were the days. Miss you too, Jerry.
xoxoxo

jbafaith said...

I have never been to an orphanage, but just the thought that children do not have someone to love them, provide food and clothing for them, just breaks my heart. Thank you not only for this post, but for you and your companions who gave this service for those little ones. I agree that often we want to provide the gifts for someone else and forget how important it is for each of us to have individual attention and feel of worth.
jbafaith at yahoo dot com

Renee Ashley Hanna said...

I have never been to an orphanage but I have heard that only good things come out of it. This is great that you took the time to go there. I am glad that you had a great experience. I would love to do that one day.

Jamie Tomkins said...

What adorable kiddos - and a great way to give back. I love it!! Great post!

won said...

Bless you and those you touched. The spirit of the season was alive and well, and the gifts that you got and gave to others made me smile.

Wendy T

Anonymous said...

Still a lovely article! This is going to be our Christmas we never forget. I've became much to sick with an Immune disease, and though still working in hospital beds, it wasn't enough. We've lost it all, and I just don't want this to be our 'Christmas to remember'.......

ann said...

What a wonderful way to spend that time doing for others . It gives you a sense of joy to be able to do that. My cousin used to go to the Indian reservations and teach woman different things to help them . She recently passed away of cancer. It is good to give and not always receive all the time