The gift of life

Eveline is a student at the CBC school in Saintard, Haiti.
Eveline is a student at the CBC school in Saintard, Haiti.

Christmas is coming! No matter how early you start the holiday planning and shopping, the big day always seems to arrive too soon.

When I was a boy, though, the month of December seemed to drag on for eternity. I remember lying awake in bed at night, thinking about how many days were left until Christmas, and hoping beyond hope that I would get everything I wanted under the Christmas tree.

But this year, I keep thinking about a girl named Eveline and what she told the Cross staff during our visit to the Calvary Baptist Church (CBC) school in Saintard, Haiti.

Eveline, who is 15, lives with an uncle who is too poor to feed her and her two little brothers. She never knew her father, and her mother has passed away, leaving her with much of the burden of caring for her siblings. When she prays, she tells God, “Thank you for letting me live to this age, because many children die.”

Stark. Simple. Sobering.

Not, “Thank you for my new laptop,” or that new smartphone or name brand shoes. Just thanks for the gift of survival.

That humble prayer is a wakeup call. We so easily forget how much God has blessed us. While our children are losing sleep wondering if Santa will bring them their favorite video game, children in Haiti are praying that God will grant them life for another day. Eveline’s little brothers may not lie awake at night in eager expectation of Christmas morning, but I can imagine them losing sleep as they think about how much they miss their mother and how long they have to wait for their next morsel of food.

For them, the free lunch Cross provides at the CBC schools is often their only meal of the day. Without the support from our donors, they would eat next to nothing at all. That life-saving gift is the reason why Eveline is able to bow her knees in thanks for God’s simple blessings.

Something to think about this Christmas.

-Tony M.

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