Feliz Navidad! Today is December 24, the day that Christmas is celebrated in Honduras and especially here at Orphanage Emmanuel! We were so looking forward to this day. Breakfast in the Little Girls house was planned to a huge traditional Honduran Breakfast (fried plantains and more), then a movie and hours of doing little girls hair and dressing them in specially ordered matching outfits, then House pictures. Then everybody in the orphanage will gather for fried chicken (YES!!!) for a picnic lunch all together, then go to the church where they call each child’s name up (550 ish) and hand out wrapped Christmas gifts. Many volunteers fly down to Honduras just to be here to celebrate this day with the children. It is said to be filled with excitement, joy and love. A real celebration!
So naturally Guy spent all last night throwing up. Yup. Only he didn’t wake us up to tell us because it was “too dark”. So this morning we all woke up to the stench of dried vomit (and more vomit) and a sick kiddo with a 101 fever. I wish I could say I was gracious about it. But I wasn’t. Out of Guy’s earshot I complained that this ruined our whole fun two days. I asked Joe to take off from his scheduled work so I could still go up to be with the little girls. I wondered if anyone would notice if I brought a limp kid that was literally green to the fried chicken picnic. As I scraped the sheets I was so disappointed and whiny about how this ruined the plans we were looking forward to for weeks.
Guy showered and lay on the couch. At 6.40am I decided that Joe would stay home with the kids for half the morning, I could still catch the breakfast if I hurried (forget about germs- we’ve been sharing cups and spoons with everybody for weeks- every virus is already shared). Then I could come back and pick up the kids while Joe went to work, etc.. I had a plan and headed out the door. I ran up to the Little Girls house. I quickly explained my kids wouldn’t be with me because they were not feeling well. The woman in charge of the house was concerned and asked more about Guy. I explained how sick he was. Well go home! She told me. Be with your family! A child needs his mother when he’s sick!
And clarity hit me like a brick. My children are not orphans. They have a mommy. And with repentance and thanksgiving I raced home as fast as I could to hold Guy on my lap and stroke his hair. He is my baby. Joe was taking wonderful care of him but I wanted to be there too. These children are my first precious gifts. They are living examples of God’s great love for me. And to think I almost missed the chance to hold one of them for the millionth time and say with joy thank you thank you thank you that I get to be his mom.
Elena now has a belly ache. The foam mattresses are hosed off and are now drying outside. I have more laundry to do and more puke to clean. Most likely we will miss the whole day of celebrations. And disappointments are there. Some minor, like our change of plans, and some major, that cut to the marrow.
But the Good News of Christmas does not change. In an orphanage, in America, in poverty in plenty, with abundance of gifts, abundance of health, in death or in sickness, excitement or disappointment, for those of us who celebrate Christ at Christmas the Good News is the same!! And for those of us who don’t celebrate Christ, the Good News is the same!
The Lord has come to earth. He is here. And his Kingdom is Love and His gospel is Peace. He has come to Love all. The most inclusive invitation there ever was. Come all. Where you are, as you are. Orphans into the family of God. Oh come let us adore Him.