We, the “oldies”, have many varied memories of Christmas. When I reminisce about
this time of the year, I am transported back to my childhood in a small town in
Africa. December was summer time, a time of clear blue skies, hot sun beating
down on the dry earth and a time of excitement for children waiting for that
special day on the calendar.
For weeks prior to Christmas, the shops/stores were already celebrating with trees covered in twinkling, bright lights. Shelves were stacked with an assortment of gifts, enticing parents to buy for their children, family members and friends. Cheerful carols were played at a loud tone. There was nothing somber about this time of the year.
As a child, I couldn’t wait for the festive street lights to be switched on! What excitement. My sister and I would dash out to the family car and wait for my father and mother to join us. We couldn’t wait to reach the town centre where we would gaze in wonder at the beautiful, coloured illuminations around us.
On our return home, we would run to our room. There we would place our pillow case at the foot of our bed before going to sleep. This was one night of the year when children had no objections about going to bed!
I remember the excitement when waking up and finding the pillow case bulging with gifts from Santa. How did he always know exactly what my sister and I wanted for Christmas?? My parents came into the room and like parents all over the world, they were captivated by the expressions on our faces as we admired our presents. Our cries of joy indicated the amount of fulfillment of our dreams, desires or expectations.
These were my childhood years during WW2. Everything was in short supply, both food and luxuries. My mother made our clothes and many of our toys were of the knitted/crocheted/stuffed variety. She baked for our birthdays and other celebrations. We made do with what we had and we never lacked sustenance. My sister and I were secure in a world of conflict because we felt loved and protected.
Now, many years later, I have 2 grandchildren. My grandson, is 8 years old, and granddaughter is 4 years of age. My granddaughter was adopted from an orphanage in the Ukraine at the age of 2 years. The world, as I knew it during my childhood, is gone forever. Life has changed drastically. However, one thing has remained constant – Christmas. This is still a time of celebration, a time of sharing and caring. It is a time of counting ones blessings and bestowing some on others, less fortunate. It is time to remember Charles Dickens story of Scrooge. For me, especially, having an adopted granddaughter coming from an orphanage, it is a time to remember all those little souls still living without a home, without a Mommy and Daddy to spoil them on Christmas morning.
I would like to make an appeal to readers to remember these little children too. I appeal to you to open your hearts and generously contribute gifts to these little ones so that they, too, may know the joy of receiving something special on such a special day.
I quote from an article written by a founder of the Life2Orphans organization:
“Last year Life2Orphans families and donors provided over 2000 gifts to 4 orphanages. This year we have grown to cover 18 orphanages and we hope to provide as many gifts as possible. Many of the older orphans have never received a gift in their lives and have no understanding of the concept of Christmas. Consider the impact that just one Christmas gift can have … a child at the Children’s Hope Rehabilitation Center stood up and announced that the reason they don’t run away anymore and live on the street was because they get food AND last year they received a CHRISTMAS GIFT.”
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