A saintly monk once said that material gifts will bring human joy to those receiving them, but offering gifts will bring divine joy to the giver. Every day, in so many ways, there is opportunity for each of us to bring joy to another child and to experience life changing divine joy ourselves.
I have recently read about the help that IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) offers to struggling, vulnerable families all around Romania. The well being of many of Romania’s children has been endangered by the lack of economic development that pushed so many families into joblessness and poverty.
Over the past twelve years, IOCC has trained thousands of priests and teachers (2,100 trained since 2005 alone) on improving community life for children and their families. IOCC especially emphasizes a good education as a way to promote positive changes for communities and inspire success. To this end, IOCC has opened afterschool care centers that keep children interested in learning, while providing a safe environment to study, play and socialize with friends. One such center, the Joy Aid Foundation daycare center in Urlati, is featured in the most recent IOCC Prayer Journal. The center serves 25 kids, and offers snacks and a warm meal, computer access for tutoring, bathrooms with running water, and even warm clothes and shoes for the most needy. The IOCC also provides new school supplies, games, and funds for other activities. I felt humbled and touched to see pictures of the children opening new school supplies with the wonderment and joy one usually associates with Christmas morning gifts!
Be a gift giver and experience divine joy yourself. Just a thought for the gift giving season at hand.
“Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God”
– Luke 18:16