Carmody Family Christmas by Anna

Christmas was very different this year than any other year.

While we were still going to school in Louisiana my brothers' school had a little garage sale where the kids could buy Christmas presents for their family members.  So the boys were super excited to buy each of us $0.50 - $1 early Christmas gifts. Board games are one of my family's favorite things, so the boys lucked out on finding some new games for us to take with us to New Mexico. My Christmas gift from Michael was a friendship bracelet with someone else's name on cute is that!! My mom got a half used bottle of vanilla body spray. The boys garage sale Christmas gifts were a funny addition to our Christmas celebration.

My grandparents sent us some Christmas decorations, which were really exciting to open and hang up for a while.  I'm really blessed by decorating for Christmas and other holidays.

We were able to bring some of the decorations to Mexico City to brighten our hotel room, which made it feel more like Christmas without having a real Christmas tree.

Decorating for Christmas was something everyone got excited to do together.

Katelyn's art teacher taught her how to make some fun new Christmas decorations out of paper, including a Christmas tree - yippee!!

With our hearts full of Christmas joy we were ready to go and share that joy with others.

Our biggest ministry in Mexico City was talking and sharing God's love with the people on the street. That happens to be my favorite ministry. It's my favorite ministry because lots of the people on the street have never been shown love and they're always so excited and open to hearing about God's love.

This man is from Juarez. Which is where I knew we would be going soon. As soon as I sat down by him he said, "I saw you over there smiling joyfully, and then I saw your cross and I knew that was why you were smiling so big."
These little boys approached me to ask me for money. I told them I had nothing and that they could search me if they wanted.  Then the man said to the little kids, "She doesn't have money, but she has something even better which is the love of Jesus in her heart." That made me so happy. Then I noticed a scapular the boy in the red shirt was wearing. I told him I had one too and asked him if he knew what it meant, which turned into a conversation about Our Lady of Guadalupe. It was all so beautifully blessed. Thank God!

We were blessed to be able to share God's love with many other people on the streets. We used a kids' spanish picture bible to tell people the story of Jesus' birth.  Katelyn really enjoyed reading to the kids.

For Christmas we made up bags to give to some of these street people, as a little gift for Christmas.

The family in this picture was especially excited when my mom showed them some of the things in the bag. The dad was so excited to have toilet paper and wet-wipes to keep themselves clean.  Both of the parents expressed gratitude to be able to meet their kids basic needs.  My mom later told me that the dad said, "We go to Mass every Sunday and my kids can feel Jesus' love there. At Christmas time my kids like to get presents, but they know that the gift of Jesus' love and his birth are way more valuable." It was so beautiful to hear of such a Christ centered Christmas spirit.

This man was in the subway begging for money. Family Missions Company's rule is that we don't give people money, but instead we go with them to get what they need. We asked this man if he would like us to buy him a meal. He was so week he almost couldn't stand up to go with us. We bought him tacos and prayed with him.  Lots of people stopped to watch us. Sometimes I wonder if God calls us to help someone so it will impact someone passing by. As Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, "We are simply a pencil in God's hands."

Although Christmas was very different for us this year it was unique and special in its own ways.

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