07 Jan Christmas in the Eyes of the Young and Old
Our homeschool group Team L4 went to nursing homes for our Christmas party. Last year we went to an orphanage, this time around, we wanted to give our kids the chance to share the love of Jesus to the elderly. One of the moms in our group is a geriatric doctor and she suggested two nursing homes in the south that we can visit. We went there with the intention to bless the residents but ended up being blessed instead. 🙂
We first went to Martha’s Home before proceeding to Home Health Care. Our kids had a quick practice before we went to the first nursing home. The kids were joined by the moms in singing Christmas songs. They also read the Christmas story in Luke. My little boy was able to read his part and we were so proud of him! However, he already got shy when we reached to the second nursing home. I read his part instead. 🙂 Our group also went to a public nursing home in Cavite after Christmas but we weren’t able to join as Timmy just got better from his cough and colds a week before.
Just like last year, we split the roles for this outreach. Some were assigned for solicitation, others were assigned to food and program. We sang “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “John 3:16,” “Joy to the World,” and “Immanuel.” After reading certain verses from the Christmas story in Matthew, the kids and moms would sing a couple of songs. 🙂 It was a very emotional and moving experience for all of us as we sang in front of the lolos and lolas (grandpas and grandmas).
Our kids looked forward to having FUN while the grandparents looked forward to having their FAMILY.
As soon as we entered the first nursing home, we were welcomed by smiles from the nurses and staff. One by one the senior residents came out. One grandpa smiled a lot as he observed the kids. Not long after, the boys were running around and playing in the couch where the charming lolo was sitting. Our kids just wanted to have fun in the nursing home, giggling and sitting on top of each others’ laps.
Another grandpa was wheeled out and upon seeing the kids, he started to cry. My heart broke at the sight of him cry as the kids blessed his hand (a gesture of respect given by children to old people by getting their hand and putting it on their foreheads.) His nurse told me that he remembered his grandchildren. It was very evident how much he misses them.
When the our kids started singing, the other jolly grandpa whom we first saw started bawling. He was really crying and smiling at the same time. Most of the moms cried while I tried my best to hold back my tears. I had to give the closing remarks so I needed to keep my composure. It was so heavy to see all these elderly in one place in a close-knit culture like ours where we take care of our own grandparents.
Based on their response, it was clear that all the senior residents wanted for Christmas was to be with their families. I do hope they were able to spend time with them over the holidays. I could only imagine how hard it was for the residents by the time we left as they found themselves alone again. We hope our short performance and gifts gave them joy and reminded them of God’s love.
Our kids looked forward to receiving PRESENTS while the grandparents valued their PRESENCE.
In the second nursing home, we were so surprised that the nurses and staff prepared games and gifts for our kids! One of the staff told me that the residents wanted the kids stay longer. All the residents there were grandmothers. It was so heartwarming to see that they wanted to kiss our children instead of blessing them. The lolas gave them the trademark grandma kiss where they just smell the cheeks of the kids. 🙂 I couldn’t help but remember my own grandma, too!
The residents in this nursing home were happier and more engaged than the previous one. They joyfully watched our performance with some of them even clapping their hands. 🙂 After our number, the kids couldn’t contain their excitement anymore for the games and prizes! Timmy didn’t participate as he was looking forward to our homeschool Christmas party at McDonald’s. Haha! He did grab some candies though during the pabitin or our local version of piñata. 🙂
I realized that when you’re young a lot of things have novelty for you. But as you grow older, you start to value more of the intangible things like the presence of people who love and care for you. Perhaps the lolas in the nursing homes just wanted their family members to stay there, keeping them company without having to give them anything material. Perhaps living for more than 70 years has allowed them to experience everything this world has to offer.
Oh, one of the highlights of our visit was knowing a grandma who’s more than a hundred years old! She looked very healthy, too! I approached her before we left and she gave me a lola kiss as well and said, “God bless you.” If only we had time, I would’ve loved to talk to her and ask her what it’s like to live for more than a century! In case you’re wondering, we couldn’t post photos of the residents for security and privacy reasons.
We capped off our day with our Christmas party at McDonald’s and much to our surprise, the manager allowed us to use the enclosed party room! It looked like we had the place reserved for our party! Praise God! They even gave mini balloons to our kids. 🙂 We went home with our hearts full and a renewed realization of how important family is. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the anonymous donors who contributed to our outreach and Del Monte for supporting our cause for the second straight year. 🙂
Thank you to the faithful moms and dads of Team L4 for organizing this outreach and for the wonderful homeschooling year we had. It is such a blessing to learn from fellow moms and get encouragement from them as we all go through this homeschooling journey together. 🙂
To my readers, thank you for joining me over the past year! I hope you had a meaningful Christmas and an awesome New Year! 🙂