My family and I watched the movie Christmas on Division Street yesterday morning after having a pancake breakfast that I prepared at home. It is one of the movies I recommended in one of my previous posts here that families can watch to bond this Christmas season. Yes, we're still in the Christmas season. Today is just the 10th day of Christmas. So, don't take down your Christmas tree and decors yet. Savor the season at least until the Feast of the Epiphany of the visit of the 3 wise men or more popularly known as the 3 Kings.
I read some short reviews about this movie before I included it in my previous blog post. I'm really glad I did that. Moreover, I am glad we watched this movie yesterday. It's a beautiful and touching movie. I could not keep my tears from falling minutes after the movie is over. I felt affirmed that my family and I did the right thing on Christmas day this year. (If you want to watch the movie on YouTube, you'll see the link here.)
We have a Christmas tradition that is already five years old. We first did it in 2012. You can read about the first time we did it and what moved me to suggest it to my husband here.
So, what is this Christmas tradition I am talking about? We give out brown bags to street kids.
I recently shared in my blog post Birthday Cake for the Birthday Boy that we make sure that we have a cake for Jesus as part of our Christmas feast. Aside from having a birthday cake, we go all out by making loot bags for Him, too. We give these loot bags (brown bags) to Jesus' favorites, the poor around us. We've decided to give it to street kids.
We've been doing this every year, usually on Christmas day. But there was also a year when we gave out these brown bags on the Feast of Holy Innocents (December 28) when we celebrated the first month of our youngest child. Last year, we got very busy and tired on Christmas day so we gave away brown bags and toys on the Feast of the Lord's Epiphany or 3 Kings with our 3 boys wearing crowns pretending to be the 3 Kings.
Every year, we usually think that we might not find street kids or a lot on the streets on Christmas day because the DSWD also exert effort to clean up the streets by finding shelter for these kids. But we are often surprised that we still find many homeless people, not just kids, roaming or sleeping on the streets on Christmas day. This makes me sad. I always wish each time that we had packed more brown bags.
Yesterday, after watching the movie which was about homeless people, God moved my heart again to ache for these poor people. I wished to have more resources so my family and I could help more homeless people. But God was quick to affirm me by telling me that my family and I already made a difference to the people we gave brown bags to. We may not reach all the homeless in the Philippines or in the world. But we definitely touched the hearts of those who received what we gave away. And as I write this post, God whispers into my heart that writing about our family tradition and experience can inspire and move others to do the same on Christmas day or any day of the year.
I'm so thankful to God for this beautiful family tradition and meaningful family bonding activity. It's a reminder to our family of the true meaning of Christmas... following the example of Jesus Christ and giving Jesus a gift through the poor around us. One of the priests who celebrated the anticipated Simbang Gabi in our parish asked us this question during his homily. "It's Jesus birthday, right? What is your gift to Jesus this Christmas?" Those were some of our family's gifts to Jesus on His birthday this year. But as we gave these gifts, Jesus gave us more. He gave us joy and inspiration.
Let me end this by sharing these words of Jesus in the Bible: