They came to visit Jesus when he was a baby: shepherd kids, then Magi and their kids, then us - all of us: you and I.
Easy for the shepherd kids. The Angels sang in the heavens and the shepherd kids woke up and understood - understood before the adults. Itís always that
way. So they listened to the singing and ran after the Star. Ran after the Star, with their moms shouting at them: ďwhere are you going - and get home right now!Ē
Crazy! Kids waking up hearing Angels singing and running after a Star. Looking for Joseph and Mary and a newborn baby. Kids running, following a Star
across the near-by hills. Wow!
And sure they found Baby Jesus and it made sense. At least good sense for kids.
I imagine those shepherd kids visited lots of times. For the Magi, it took maybe a whole year following that Star. But a year is a year. And Iím sure
they brought their kids. And if they brought their kids, they certainly brought their moms too - to watch the kids. They came with sacred gifts of gold, frankincense and
myrrh and maybe a kick ball for Jesus.
Itís so easy. The kids and moms came too. The Magi stayed a while: resting. And the Magi kids teamed up with the shepherd kids and you couldnít get rid
of them. Playing, noisy, always with Jesus. And the shepherd kids ran away from tending sheep to play with Jesus.
It started way back then. Joseph and Mary didnít turn any kids away. Everyone was welcome: always something to eat for shepherd and Magi kids. The adults
- they were expected to pitch in and help.
No strangers. Just neighborhood kids and their dads and moms who grew up with Joseph and Mary and Jesus their baby - and later who became adults together
with the memories. And some, years later, during the difficult times, didnít understand what Jesus was trying to teach and do, and a few did.
Like us. You and me. We walk each year to Bethlehem. Joy, lots of pain, some death, discouragement. Disappointment in a friend. No one is really an enemy:
just a friend who doesnít understand or who is going through some bad times. We walk to Bethlehem. I begin here in Bangkok City and you in your town.
Weíve got 160 street kids living with us all over the place - it costs 40 dollars a day for lunch money for all these kids. Itís a house rule: they go
to school or work. But some of the really badly bruised and abused kids arenít ready yet, so we give them all the time they need. All of them need you to sponsor them, one
by one. Weíve got four thousand kids in 32 slum kindergartens. The wooden school buildings are falling apart, the tin roofs are rusty and leak. We need sponsors for whole
school. The Juvenile Courts have sent us nearly three hundred kids this year - isnít that wonderful - a chance to help the poorest of the poor. Some stay a week, some stay
for years. We never say no to a kid. I guess thatís because someone said Yes to me when I was a kid.
And weíve got 19 AIDS kids and a couple didnít make it through the year and they are our new stars in heaven. Also 73 AIDS adults died with us - 86
went home after they got better.
Weíve got a new AIDS hospice and a new street kids hospice. Some wonderful family donated that, but we need money for water and electricity. Maybe you
could help there - or even with a school uniform, or a Teddy Bear for one of the AIDS kids. The eldest is in the 4th grade and is well for a while - 8 others go to
kindergarten when they can. They are happy bunch.
Christmas is a glorious story and is real. The shepherds and the Magi are real, and so are they families, and the Star is real. It still shines. All you
have to do is look a bit to see it. Walk with me - letís meet in Bethlehem - maybe we can play some kick ball in the neighborhood - maybe we can go shopping with Mary and
Joseph - not be tourists but be family.
Human Development Foundation
Tel. (02) 392 7981 Fax. (02) 391 4968