"You won't believe it," my aunt told me when I called her before Christmas. "It's a gift only your parents could come up with!" I wondered what they had up their sleeves, and the next time I called my mom, I asked her what her gift plans for Christmas were. "Well, all the kids are getting the same thing. They can't see it but they can feel it. I hope they will understand what it means."
Hmmmm....just what could they be thinking? Something they can't see under the tree at Christmas? That should be a thrill. My thoughts kept circulating around charitable causes, but I couldn't pinpoint just what their plan was. Until Christmas morning when my boys unwrapped a little picture book with animals on the cover.
"What is this?" Kaeden asked as he turned the book over in his hand. "It's a water buffalo," Gramma answered as she steered him towards the dedication page. "You gave some poor children food and hope for the future with this gift. They have a water buffalo to help them farm and give them food to eat. Whatcha think of that?"
Kaeden didn't immediately answer, but later in the day asked questions about "my water buffalo named Kaeden." Jari was also a bit confused, but grasped the concept of the poor children in Africa as it's something that consumes much of his energy. He is intrigued with the poor children that have no clothes and no food, and relaying the gift of the water buffalo in this manner helped him to understand.
This morning, as we put together his farm on the floor, he put animals into the pens we had made. "Here is the water buffalo for the poor kids in Africa," he said. "Did you know I gave them a water buffalo for Christmas?" he asked. My eyes teared over as I realized that he did understand what his special gift was all about. A water buffalo...peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind...
So, my parents outdid themselves in the giving department this year. Though my little guys managed to have plenty of sparkly, shiny packages under the tree to open, there was one gift that will continue to shine forever. The water buffalo, plowing fields to provide food for needy children, helping them become self-reliant. The gift of giving that just keeps on giving...what could be better than this gift filled with the spirit of Christmas?
If you're interested, here's a link to the site where my boys names are listed as helping others help themselves. It truly was a special Christmas, and one that won't quickly become cast into the depths of the closet, forgotten and broken.