Thursday, December 22, 2011

What Child is This

This portrait of a child -
Baby Elijah - was among the Christmas cards arriving yesterday by mail. Inside is
a greeting from Make Way Partners, my friend Kimberly, who cares for orphans amid the chaos of human trafficking in Sudan, Romania, Peru and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Baby Elijah is an integral part of Kimberly's life story.

She is an essential part of his - a miracle in Christ.

The women handed Baby Elijah to me. My youngest child is now 18 years old, but in an instant I remembered holding my children for the first time and was moved by the fragility of life. None of the village women would nurse the starving baby because food is so scarce they were afraid they would not produce enough milk for him and their baby, too ...

... The compound workers and I prayed and tended Baby Elijah carefully around the clock for days. At times, his fever spiked so high and his breath was so shallow, we thought surely he would die at any moment. Many of the villagers seemed certain he would, as there is a superstition that a dead mother will call her infant to her from her grave.

—Kimberly L. Smith, Make Way Partners

There is a superstition that a dead mother will call her infant to her grave. The words carry a dark image, the enemy's death grip, the fleshless skeletal fingers of satan squeezing the last breath of hope from the hearts of the people of Sudan. The intertwined life stories of Elijah and Kimberly sometimes seem far removed from the joy of Jesus' birth, much closer to His crucifixion. The hymn Kimberly included in her Christmas card speaks to my heart:

What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing;
Hast, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.

Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.

Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Hymn words by William Chatteron Dix, 1865

Kimberly's book Passport to Darkness is filled with stories: the Courage of Humanity amidst inhumanity and the Joy of Boundless Hope she finds in Christ.


Kimberly Smith was an average American churchgoer, wife, and mother—until she dared to ask God His dreams for her life. Traveling around the world and deep into the darkness of her own heart, Kimberly's worst fears collided with her faith as she and her family discovered the atrocities of human trafficking. But it was in that broken place that a self-centered life was transformed into an international effort to save thousands from modern-day slavery, persecution, disease, and genocide. more

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