Father Mike Bassano shares his Christmas story

By Father Mike Bassano, MM
Sun contributing writer

Greetings from Tanzania. We never know nor can we control how life will turn out as we live each day. What we do know is that the presence of God within us guides and inspires us to live fully. The gift of Christmas is the surprise of God who loved humanity and all creation that Jesus came to share in our life in a humble way.

About five years ago, Edina came to share in our life at our home of compassion. We know nothing of her past except that she was born in Uganda, the country bordering Tanzania to the north. She was found wandering lost in a village not far from us called Kigera Etuma. Edina is mentally challenged and is able to speak. She has a scar on her left hand from burns she received long ago. Edina is 35 years old and with only the clothes on her back went through the village asking for food. She would sleep on the side of the road or in a nearby field. One of the villagers brought her to us where she has finally found a home. Edina is friendly to everyone and greets us with a smile every day. She also helps with the daily chores of washing dishes, cleaning clothes, taking care of our children as well as getting water and wood to cook food.

One day as I was talking with one of the elderly men, I saw Edina running toward a small pool of water. All of a sudden she pulled out of the water a three-year-old boy named Freddy from our home who accidentally slipped into the water. Had Edina not acted quickly little Freddy would have drowned. She then brought Freddy — who was conscious and all right — over to me. He was startled and very wet. We then took him to his mother, got him cleaned up with new clothes while giving thanks to God that he was alive.

Edina became our hero of the day, saving the life of the child. She, who others may think is intellectually or socially below average, became a sign for me of how God surprises us by showing how the poor and humble ones are the real treasures of the earth.

In this Christmas season we are surprised by how God came to us in a humble way as a poor child in Bethlehem.

May we always be surprised to find Jesus in the poor and humble ones among us.

Merry Christmas,
Father Mike Bassano

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