I’m Dreaming of a Safe Christmas

This year I’ve found new courage to open myself to the tragic problems we lump together under the term “children in crisis”. This refers especially to children living alone on the streets of the world, children in abusive labor, and trafficked children.

Frankly, it takes a good deal of courage to engage these issues. They are so disturbing, so evil, so repulsive. It’s a great deal easier to focus on providing clean water or micro loans, seeing smiling faces and proud countenances of those being helped, not the slumped and somber frames of the fortunate few children who are rescued, their identities hidden from the camera.
I encourage would-be contributors to these “Child Protection” issues to first pray about whether or not they feel called to it, because I believe it takes a special calling to stay in this battle against insidious evil in some of the places where it is most firmly entrenched. 
Yet the silent cries of these children is a drumbeat on my own soul lately. I’m hearing that same divine calling myself, and now Janet and I allocate much of our own giving to this issue.
A colleague and good friend just sent out the note below to our co-laborers  around the country.  I appreciate Steve’s deep passion and heart on this issue—refueled by a riveting trip to Bangladesh and India this year where he experienced vignettes like these first hand—and feel his note is worth sharing, without comment.  It’s a message for Christmastime that may be worthy of reflection again during the holiday, as we seek to make it truly a Holy-Day.
Advent blessings,

           Christmas letter to my fellow reps about Child Protection
In about two weeks, we will all largely cease our busy activities regarding the ministry of World Vision. It will then be a time for families, exchanging gifts, wearing something new, and of course those delightful Christmas cookies that seem to be consumed by the half-dozen!
We will also gather to worship in a variety of settings, whether a simple chapel service or an ornate candlelight communion somewhere which allows us to reflect on the significance of Jesus’s entrance into a troubled, and less than ornate, world.

I was asked by the Child Protection team to remind us of some of the themes of this sector. How could I do so without immediately noticing the obvious contrast between those we serve and this affluent Christmas culture we call home?

Consider theirChristmas morning…

– A child of ten forced into working 12 hour days in a factory with conditions that don’t exactly tout coffee breaks nor a leisurely lunch hour, meanwhile netting maybe 50 cents a day.

– A girl of 12 whose value on the street, due to her youth and lack of prior sexual experience, can give her family the most expensive “Christmas gift” they have ever received; their only problem being that there is no address for them to send her a thank you note.

– A young child’s only experience of “Silent night!” will be hearing the threatening exhortation from his mother, a sex worker in a brothel, to keep quiet while she goes about earning her living.

– A teenage girl already rescued from the darkness of exploitation, yet still yearning to find joy in singing “Joy to the World”… perhaps next year she can get through the first line without weeping.

I believe that Jesus is the HOPE of the world, that indeed He brings Joy, salvation, comfort and healing. Will you join us in praying for children like these, and for our global Child Protection team as we seek to bring light and hope to these precious children?

God bless us, EVERY ONE!

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