A Christmas letter from India

Source: District of Asia

Dear friends and benefactors,

Our modern world sits on a merry-go-round of noise and advertising. On every side, worldliness invades our families despite our best efforts to shield and protect. Even in our personal lives, we can easily feel bombarded by the greed and covetousness of a commercialized world which demands constant entertainment and instant gratification.

The solution to the chaos can be found in the least likely of places. The silence of the stable.

God is accessible to everyone. He is not limited to the educated, the wise, or the wealthy. In fact, sometimes those who seem to have more in this life, have less.

Here in India, our little orphans lack many of the luxuries this life has to offer. Yet they are able to experience the mystery of Christmas to the fullest. 

After all, who better than an orphan understands what it is to be cold? Surely they know what it is to be poor. And seeing their prayerful faces glowing in the candlelight of Midnight Mass, I assure you, they have great Faith. And on Christmas morning, their delightful laughter reveals a most profound gratitude for even the simplest of gifts.

I do believe orphans understand Christmas better than any of us.  Only the mind of God would place His Truth on the floor of a stable for all to behold. Sophisticated minds miss the beauty of it because they’re looking too high. If the Gospel were a complicated philosophy requiring a prestigious title and years of study, the simple and uneducated could never hope to find salvation.

There was a classic story from 1966 in which a simple child made clear the true meaning of Christmas. A little boy was given the role to play the innkeeper in a nativity play. His lines required him to turn away the Holy Family in the middle of the night.

"Seek lodging elsewhere. There is no room for you at the inn!” He looked properly stern.

Joseph sadly placed his arm around Mary and the two of them started to move away. The innkeeper did not return inside, however. He stood there in the doorway, watching the forlorn couple. His mouth was open, his brow creased with concern, his eyes filling unmistakably with tears.

And suddenly, this nativity play became different from all others.

“Don’t go, Joseph,” the child called out. “Bring Mary back.” The innkeeper’s face grew into a bright smile. “You can have my room!"

God’s solution is easier than we can imagine. We need to look at life through the lens of a child. I would even say, through the lens of an orphan child. Christ once said “unless you become as little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” We need to ask ourselves: “What is it about a child that God loves so much?”

Their humility. Their simplicity. Their child-like Faith. We need to rediscover the true meaning of Christmas. In a certain way, this means rediscovering our childhood innocence.

Let me introduce you to one of the angels in our community – little Clara. Her mother, Rita, was an orphan who came to us 22 years ago. At Christmas, Rita and her two children have returned to us for Christmas!  Clara along with other little angels’ presence brightens our days!

Before I go, allow me to share my profound gratitude with each of you. Perhaps I’m getting sentimental in my old age, but when I see your donations arrive, no matter how small the contribution is, I can’t help but bow my head in thanksgiving and shed a tear. I assure you that your impact here in India is immense.  I will be offering a Mass for all our dear benefactors. May God reward you for your continuous generosity to our little home.

I wish you all a very Holy Christmas and blessed New Year 2023!

In the simplicity of Christ’s Birth,

Fr. Therasian Xavier