Last Saturday, when our family gathered to celebrate the American Thanksgiving, I sat down with three of my four grandchildren to look through the Chalice Christmas Gift Catalogue. This is not like the old Sears Christmas Wish Catalogues of the past. Since my grandchildren were very small, I have given gifts to third world countries through Chalice, in their names. Chalice is a wonderful Canadian Catholic Organization through which many in our parish have sponsored children, to help with their education, with food and clothing. Each year they send out a catalogue with everything inside from animals, crop seeds, farm tools, and school supplies, to blankets and mattresses.
When the grandkids were little, it was important to instill in them the notion that not every child had what they had; not every child had enough food to eat, proper clothing to wear; not every family had the means with which to provide these things.
I thought of this on Saturday as the three, aged 11, 10 and 8, had a lively discussion as to what gifts would provide the greatest means of support for a family. In the past, I did most of the talking and they would nod their heads in agreement. This time they looked through the catalogue and gave their own opinions. They all agreed that animals were the best choice – a pair of goats over a donkey, because a pair would give you baby goats to sell, they would give you milk and cheese, providing food for the family, as well as a livelihood. We also looked at other options – helping an orphanage, they loved that idea too, and crop seeds were an inexpensive gift that we could add to the list.
My heart was bursting when we wrapped up our discussions, circled our choices and concluded our session. They truly understood what we were doing, how we were making a difference and I could see in their faces the joy of giving from the heart and giving with love.
The things we do with our little ones – children and grandchildren – makes an impact; it leaves an impression and plants a seed in the heart. I look forward to next year when these three will help their little cousin to make equally good choices. He’s two and wouldn’t sit still this time, but next year we will till the soil and plant the seed.