Monday, December 24, 2012


Our beloved housekeeper, Claudia, is a pastor in a small Pentecostal church in Barataria. She is a lovely, God-fearing woman who is not only religious but deeply spiritual. Yesterday, at her invitation, my wife and I together with our two sons made the pilgramage to her small church for a Sunday/Christmas service. Minou (my wife) had earlier in the week gone and bought presents for about thirty of the young children in Claudia's church to hand out after the service. She (Minou) stayed up quite late on Saturday night wrapping all of them and fixing labels on each present with the names of the children that Claudia had given her.

And so, at exactly 8am (the time that Claudia had told us to be there) we arrived with the proverbial rings on our fingers and bells on our toes. What can I say? We were welcomed with love and genuine friendship and the service as well as the sermon (performed by a visiting pastor - Sister Diane) was completely inspirational. I honestly cannot say when I so enjoyed a service before!

Hold on! I am coming to the point! But I had to set the scene first.

After the service my two sons, Robin Alberto (13) and Reynaldo (10) put on Santa hats and stood up in the front of the small congregation and called out the names of the children and gave them the presents that Minou had so lovingly wrapped the night before. The children were obviously thrilled at receiving a gift, BUT (and this is important) were even more thrilled that each gift had their OWN name on the present. In other words, the gift wasn't just a 'generic' present, but each child felt special as his or her gift was so obviously meant for him or her personally!

Afterwards, going home in the car Reynaldo opined "Now I know why Santa likes giving so much. I never knew that it could be so much fun!!"

And that just about said it all! I know that I took a long time to come to the point. Forgive me, please. But it struck me forcibly that all too often we lose sight of what really matters in our lives ... love! The gift of giving is an important part of Christmas, both for Christians and non-Christians alike. And sometimes the words of a child serve to remind us sharply of this.

Mery Christmas to you, my dear readers. And may all that you wish for come true in the new year.

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