By Laura Tapia, Path 2 Case Manager
During the Christmas Season, it is common to give and exchange gifts, as a reminder of God’s gift of salvation through His son. However, sometimes we just follow the message given in the media, and forget the original purpose of these celebrations.
On December 13th, as a Path 2 case manager for Catholic Charities of the East Bay, I met with one of my families to provide services and to deliver Christmas gifts. The entire family was there: the mother and her two children, a precious 3 year old and a dutiful 9 year old. You see, the mother has learning disabilities and needs help with everyday things you and I take for granted.
The children were very happy to receive their gifts and I suggested playing a game: the mother would call the names of the children and pass the gifts, and the children in return were to give a hug to their mother. Then the children immediately put their gifts in the empty area under their old artificial Christmas tree to be opened on Christmas Eve.
After this special moment, the oldest child “Christopher” approached me and asked, “Are you going back to your job? I know you work for God and Santa, can you take my thank you letter and my Christmas wish letter for next year to God and Santa?” He believed that I was helping Niño Dios (Little Jesus) and Santa, who traditionally give presents in their culture.
I smiled and said, “I can’t promise that I will see God and Santa, but I’ll look for their workers.”
Christopher’s words made me wonder. As a case manager for one of the area’s leading faith based organizations, am I really working for God? Do I treat others, clients and co-workers like my brothers and my sisters? His words also made me wonder if adult clients are seeing us in the same way; as God’s helpers. What are the things that I need to change to improve myself in delivering social services and building better relationships with co-workers?
Christopher’s request also leaves me with a dilemma; to whom do I deliver his letter? In this Season of Gratitude, so many are in need of God’s helpers. To whom do we turn?
Yours in Christ,
PS: We ask you to think of the children and youth in need of God’s helpers. Please give the gift of a financial pledge in this Season of Gratitude so together, we may continue to serve these families all year long.