Twas the day before Christmas and the good doctor and nurse played Santa on their way down the mountain after clinic.  Last year, we had some wonderful visitors here in December who made up gift bags of clothing and toys that we distributed to about 100 children who lived in homes along the road we take back and forth to clinic.  Well, this year we didn’t have Santa’s elves to help us out, so Cherlieand I were left to our own devices, short on time and lacking in creativity.  There were some large stuffed animals that had been sent down to us by some generous partners, sitting in bags in our clinic conference room.  They actually were a little irritating to me because they were big and took up a lot of room and we couldn’t really give them out to our clinic patients without causing some jealousy (we usually give out small beanies or small toy cars to our young patients, not big animals like these).  So, for months the animals have been waiting patiently for a chance to bless someone’s little life.

Well, that chance came today when I received a visit from one of my favorite little 7-year old boys.  He’s been coming to the clinic since he was an infant and waves to us on his way to school every day.  I was smitten with him years ago.  Today he came in with his mother for a consultation and I realized I had to come up with a wonderful Christmas gift for him since it was the day before Christmas!  What a dilemma!  I couldn’t just run out to the local Walmart, so I visited the conference room instead.  There, I saw the stuffed animals, sitting in plastic bags, bursting with pride at the thought of going home with one of my favorite boys!  And, go home they did, six of them actually, one for each of the children in the home.  

Emmanuel holding his new stuffed animal

 Well, now that the idea was in my head, all the children who came to clinic today received a large stuffed animal.  

Another young patient with her new stuffed friend.

At the end of the day, we filled the car with the rest of the stuffed animals and gave them out to our other little friends along the road down from the clinic.  They were thrilled with the gifts and I was glad to have the opportunity of giving them away for a good cause. 

Cousins from three families are all smiles!

Another little friend of ours with a stuffed animal almost as tall as she is!

 So, the moral of our story today is twofold:  what may be an irritation to us can turn into a wonderful blessing and eventually everything that comes to us to be given away is done so, in the right context and through the right relationships.  Thanks to our partners for making gifts possible.  

 Cherlie and I and our staff wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!!!