Dear Every one

Hi - just a Christmas note to everyone
Merry Christmas ...... fr joe


Kids.  Shepherd and Magi kids and  Christmas

The adults came to visit Jesus when he was a baby:  Shepherds, then Magi, then us  all of us: you and I.

 Easy for the Shepherd kids.  The Angels sang in the heavens and the  Shepherd kids woke up and understood.  They understood before the adults.  Its always that way.  So they listened to the singing and ran after the Star.  Ran after the Star with their moms shouting at them:  "where are you going - and get home right now!"  Crazy.  Kids waking up hearing Angels singing and running after a Star. Looking for  Joseph and Mary and a new born Baby.  And those kids ran and ran across the near-by hills.  Wow!

 And sure they found Baby Jesus and it  made sense.  At least good sense for kids.

  I imagine those Shepherd kids came lots of times.   For the Magi, it took maybe a whole year following that Star.  But a year is a year.  And  I'm sure they brought their kids.  And if they brought their kids, they certainly brought their moms too  to watch the kids.  They came with sacred gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh and maybe a kick ball for Jesus.

  It's so easy.  The kids and moms came too.  The Magi stayed a while: resting. And the Magi kids teamed up with the Shepherd kids and you couldn't get rid of them. Playing, noisy  always with Jesus. And the Shepherd kids ran away from tending sheep to  play with Jesus.

  It started way back then.  Joseph and Mary didn't turn any kids away.  Everyone was welcome:  always something to eat for Shepherd and Magi kids.  The adults  they were expected to pitch in and help.

  No strangers. Just neighborhood kids and their dads and moms who grew up with Joseph and Mary and Jesus their baby - and later who became adults  together with the memories.  And some, years later, during the difficult times, didn't understand what Jesus and trying to teach and do, and a few who did.

 Like us. That's what we do. You and me.  We walk each year to Bethlehem. Joy, lots of pain, some death, discouragement. Disappointment in a friend.  No one is really an enemy:  just a friend who doesn't understand or who is going through some bad times.  We walk to Bethlehem.  I begin here in Bangkok City and you in your town.

 We've got 160 street kids living with us all over the place - it costs 40 Dollars a day for lunch money as they all must go to school or work.  But some of the really badly bruised and abused kids aren't ready yet, so we give them all the time they need. All of them need you to sponsor them, one by one.   We've got four thousand kids in 32 Slum kindergartens.  A lot of the wooden buildings with their tin roofs are falling apart.  We need sponsors for whole schools.  The  Juvenile Courts have sent us nearly three hundred kids this year - isn't that wonderful - a chance to help the poorest of the poor.  Some stay a week, some stay for years.  We never say no to a kid.  I guess that's because someone said Yes to me when I was a kid.

  And we've got 19 AIDS kids and a couple didn't make it through the year and they are our new stars in heaven. Also 73 AIDS adults died with us - 86 went home after they got better.

   We've got a new AIDS hospice and a new street kids hospice.  Some wonderful family donated that, but we need money for water and electricity.  Maybe you could help there - or even with a school uniform, or a Teddy Bear for one of the AIDS kids.  The eldest is in the 4th grade and is well for a while - 8 others go to kindergarten when they can.  They are a happy bunch.

  Christmas is a glorious story and is real.  The Shepherds and the Magi are real, and so are they families, and the Star is real.  It still shines, all you have to do is look a bit to see it.  Walk with me - let's meet in Bethlehem - maybe we can play some kick ball - maybe we can go shopping with Mary and Joseph - not be tourists but be family.

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