“Children now tell me, who wants to give Little Jesus a gift?” asked Maria teacher.
“I want.” Joe raised his hands.
“I want” little Esther also raised her hand.
“Teacher I have a beautiful gift” promised Eddy.
Maria teacher was explaining the students about ‘Advent’ in the Religion class. She was teaching Religion to students who were studying in grades three to five. There were only twenty Christianstudents among around 300 children studying in these grades in that Christian school run by the Missionary Sisters. The others were Hindus and few Moslems.
Maria taught the Christians in a special class. Since it was taught out of schedule hours, Education authorities did not question about it.
“Advent is a time of remembering the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus was born as a Baby who brought with him gifts of joy, hope, peace and love. Through the season of Advent, children, we can learn not only about God’s great gift given to us through Jesus Christ, but also about Christmas, a time to remember to share our love to others. We ought to be sharing love between friends, families, and even strangers especially during this season…”
Maria proposed a flower bouquet to be presented to Little Jesus on the Christmas night. Every action of love will be beautiful rose flower. Maria explained how they can collect roses through their activities of love.
She told them how they can also offer gifts to Jesus as the three Kings visited baby Jesus in a manger with gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense. Everyday she reminded in the class about it. The children would tell their deeds of love they had done at home, in the class, among their friends and so on.
“Teacher, I helped my mom in washing and showed my love” said Amali proudly.
“I shared the chocolate my mom gave me with Murugan and told him that we are going to celebrate the birth of Jesus who loves us all”. When Jesintha told this the class looked at her as a heroine.
Another day Sam told how he helped a beggar with the pocket money his mom gave him. The teacher marked a rose flower in Sam’s name.
Everyday children told about their deeds of love and collected a lot of rose flowers to give to Baby Jesus on Christmas. Little deeds of love from those little hearts really encouraged Maria teacher very much. She thanked the Lord for making her an instrument of love to guide those little children.
She always remembered the words of Jesus. “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it”(Luke 18:16,17). These were the encouraging words that forced Maria to witness Christ in every one of her actions.
Just three more days for Christmas.
It was time for the Religion class. Students were gathering outside the class.
Suddenly there was a great noise outside the class room. Maria peeped out of the window. A big crowd of people were coming. Maria was scared.
“Another persecution for these little children?” The incidents that were going on in this country made her think so. Last year Christmas bathed a whole village, in Orissa State, in Christian blood. Even today blood sheds for being Christian are going on in various parts of India. The same hatred of the Pharisees and Sadducees to torture Christ!
A group of two families were coming to the class room.
But there was no sign of any hatred or anger in those faces. Then why should they come to school?
“We are proud of you, Maria teacher. These little children opened our eyes.” Though there was a smile of relief on Maria’s face she could not understand what was going on.
“Yes, our two families were not in good terms for years. We never talked to one another. We did not even allow Stephan and Antony talk. We parents were growing hatred in these little hearts. Our children first became friends. They told us about your Christmas bouquet. Being Christians, we are ashamed of our hatred. Now we have become friends. We just came to thank you.”
Tears rolled in many eyes.
A bunch of beautiful roses blossomed in Maria’s heart.