By Fr. Charlie O'Rourke
As Christmas draws near my thoughts go back to 1973 and 1974 when I was in Korea. I had the opportunity to escort three little orphans to Chicago, then Minneapolis, and finally and New York. They were going to parents who were adopting them. One little boy about a year or so old went to Chicago, and a little girl was adopted by parents in Minneapolis. They came to Chicago to meet her. The third little boy was about two years old and was adopted by parents in New York.
The trip to the U.S. was a real experience for me, a priest, and lifelong bachelor trying to take care of three very small children! At times there was a lot of turbulence during which my two year old charge began running up and down the aisle. It was a long trip from Seoul to Chicago and then on to New York City. I felt so sorry for these three little dolls being uprooted from their homeland, headed to meet their new parents whom they had never met.
For some reason, I was not allowed to get off the plane with the children. Anyway, I could imagine the joy and happiness that the parents felt when they received their little ones. It was an emotional time for me even though I was not there to see this. These little children were to receive such love as they probably had never experienced. For the parents, it must have been one of the happiest days of their lives receiving such a beautiful gift.
As we celebrate Christmas, that is, God coming to us as the Christ child, what a gift that is. Like those children, God wants to come into our hearts. It is important that we realize that the face of God is reflected in so many different ways. All God is asking us to do is to open our hearts and make room for God in the poor, suffering and the abandoned. We can act as God’s angels and messengers and in this way we make Christmas become real in our world today.
Columban Fr. Charlie O’Rourke lives and works in St. Columbans, Nebraska.