Our housekeeper Veronica is a very lovely young woman. She is married to a piki piki (motorcycle) driver and has a five year old son. Her husband has a boda-boda business, which means he drives people on his motorcycle like a taxi. Veronica is a wonderful cook and also does our shopping, cleaning and laundry (by hand). They are both very hard working people. They live higher up the mountain from us near Irente Farm.
One day last week when Veronica went home her house had been broken into. The thieves took almost everything...the cushions from her furniture, the sheets and blankets off their beds, her son’s few toys, and their charcoal cooker, pots, dishes...even some of their clothing. The next day when she came to work she was very upset and had the pastor next door come with her to explain what had happened. She went to the police station that day in Lushoto to report the theft. She and her husband also went to see if they could see any of their things for sale at the market.
Yesterday, when we returned home for our lunch, we had a great surprise. Veronica had decorated our home with a Christmas tree and also new linens for our furniture and coffee table. She wanted to share the Christmas spirit with us. She saw our pine cone Christmas tree and wanted to help make our “spirits bright”. The tree is a branch of a ferny evergreen decorated with cut flowers. Even in her loss and sadness, she wanted to help us to enjoy our holidays.
This brought to mind a Christmas season we had back in 1989. Tom’s wonderful Aunt Betty, closer than any grandmother could be, died shortly before Christmas. My father was in and our of Cooper Hospital Oncology department. It was probably the lowest point in our lives. One night our doorbell rang. When we answered it no one was there but there was a wrapped present on the doormat. Inside was a small glass tree filled with candy. Over the next week or so, every night the same thing would happen. I can’t remember everything, but there was a bayberry candle and a pointsetta, small things that meant the world to us. We would wait and take turns watching out the window to see if we could find who our “Secret Santa” was. We still do not know, but hope that their kindness, like Veronica’s has been repaid to them in some way.
This is what Christmas should be. Not the latest electronic gadget or expensive toy. It should be Christ in our hearts, helping others, caring and praying for others and walking the path Jesus would want us to walk. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is born to us today and everyday.
God bless you all and Merry Christmas!