Monday we arrive at Big Heart and are greeted with a sweet surprise. Momma Deanna tells us that the children want to do something special for us. She says they don’t have money to buy gifts— but they know how to give of themselves…so from the youngest to the oldest they practice for hours to put on a program for us (in English). We share a meal together and they lead us outside to their stage and nativity made of wooden pallets, and begin.
There was dance. There was worship. There was laughter— and a pointing to the one true Gift. And we could feel the Father’s delight as the little ones began to sing “Happy birthday to Jesus” with all of their hearts.
The team just sat there taking it all in…
After, Deanna gathers the children together and the team distributes the gifts we brought for each of them, and the staff. Thank you, BCOC!
A little girl catches my attention as she begins to open her present—a Bible. She smiles, brings it in close, and holds on tight. And I just stand there thinking, “That’s the answer, little one. That’s always the answer. For you. For all of us. You bring that Bible in close until its pages are written right upon your heart. And then you hold on tight to every word of it. All of your life. You just keep holding on— no matter what.”
The rest of the children are looking through their backpacks and stockings and with each treasure they find inside they erupt in laughter. The team stands watching. Some smiling through tears.
Every face telling of joy, gratitude, and love.
And I can’t tell whose hearts are more full.
We gather around the table to decorate the Christmas cookies. So much creativity. Some worked so hard to get every brush stroke of icing and sprinkle on it perfectly. Others ate their cookies before the decorations reached the table. 😉
When it was bedtime for the little ones we said good night and the team came together to pray. And I think E.M. Bounds says it best: “Nothing tends more to cement the hearts of Christians than praying together.”
This was a such a beautiful and powerful time of locking hearts and arms, and praying through. So grateful for this team. So grateful for the Body of Christ.
The next morning we had breakfast with the Big Heart family and said our goodbyes to the children. Eduardo, one of the little guys, came close to ask when we will be back again. I hug him, hold him tight, and Clara looks him in the eyes…”Pronto, Eduardo. We’ll be back pronto.”
We smile, too.
And on the drive home I’m reminded once again that we live in an upside-down Kingdom where children can be our greatest teachers, where pouring out feels more like getting filled, where giving always leaves empty hands and open hearts that can receive more, to give away more…again, and again. Freely.
And my heart swells with thanksgiving and gratitude as I think about our conquering King Jesus being born in a barn, placed in a feed trough, and taking the lowest place…
For me. For you. For these little ones.
So that we might take our place IN HIM.