Merry First Christmas to Nathan and the ~1,100 other Haitian children that came home after the earthquake this January!
We know now, from one of the older children, that the kids (at least at our orphanage) were told that "Santa doesn't like Haitians". That's how they explained why there was never a Christmas to the older children. These children never left the orphanage themselves but they are SMART kids and I'm sure picked up from the conversations of the adults that it was Christmas outside that concrete wall that blocked them from the rest of the world. I'm sure they asked what this "Christmas" was and what it meant for them. And, just as adults here in America use the story of Santa to add mystery and magic to the season, the adults in Haiti use the story of Santa to explain why there is no magic and mystery for them or their children. These kids were essentially told that because of who they were, things could never be wonderful or magical for them.
I know, I know - it's a horrible thing to say to a child, but at the same time, I don't know how one explains to a child why everything in their life was difficult. I'm also sure that many, many times they feel that God, Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the government, and their own parents hate them. I don't know how else you reconcile the extreme "have nots" in daily life when you're dealing with THAT level of poverty.
Since our first trip to Haiti nearly 3 years ago I've wondered many times exactly how it is that I was born in America and have anything, can be anything, can buy anything, can dream and do anything I want while my brothers and sisters in Haiti and elsewhere in the world have to fight for every crust of bread.
Can you really have dreams for tomorrow when every day seem the same as the one before?
So for these children I say, as the song does, "Happy Christmas.... war is over now".
God bless America, families, and water you don't have to boil.