For unto us a child is born

No doubt that this Christmas these well-known words will be heard again

in countless churches all over the world. These are old prophetic words of encouragement and since Bethlehem also words of great rejoicing.
For unto us a child is born … . Parents, who have just had a child, will probably pronounce these words with exceptional pride and filled with wonder. Many readers will certainly recognize this feeling at the birth of their own child.
Is this the case with all parents? Are all parents able to marvel at the birth of their child and repeat these words with pride? No, this is – unfortunately – not the daily practice. Parents in Ghana (and also in many other countries) are not exactly happy and positive when they find out that their child appears to have one or more impairments at its birth. Sometimes these are subtle impairments that are noticed only later on; sometimes parents flinch from their own child in abhorrence because at its birth it is immediately clear that it is seriously handicapped.
Something like this must have happened to Emmanuella when she was born on the 17th of December 2004. Her disabilities were instantly and clearly visible, because she had neither legs nor arms. Her parents were in complete shock and they absolutely did not want to accept Emmanuella as their child and they wanted to literally throw her away. They certainly could not bring themselves to utter the words “for unto us a child is born” and it is much to be doubted whether Emmanuella would have been alive today if it had been up to her parents. However, after extensive consultation with the hospital of Nkoranza it was decided that Emmanuella would come to Hand in Hand, thus becoming PCC’s Christmas Child 2004! She has lived in our Community since then, she is well taken care of by her caregiver Joyce, who has in fact become her loving mother.
This week Emmanuella turned 10(!) and we are very happy with and proud of this! Since day one in 2004 she has been held dear by everybody in PCC and also by many people outside the Community.
Her exceptional appearance draws the attention of many and in the meantime she has become conscious of this. The eyes of many people inside and outside PCC will turn to her like magnets when they get the sight of her. Inside PCC she feels quite safe and secure, which also counts for the Nation Builders International School, she attends this school each day. Outside these premises she can feel strangers watching her and that is why she prefers to evade this situation. Quite understandable.
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It is very important to offer her a safe environment and to stimulate her self-confidence and fortunately this appears to be successful. However, we can imagine that things will become more difficult for her in the course of the years, she is gradually becoming a teenager and she will be (much) more conscious of her being different from the world surrounding her. A world which is not exactly always kind and obliging and certainly not to people with such obvious impairments.
For unto us a child is born… !
We think that PCC can surely say this about Emmanuella, although her biological parents are not here. Despite the fact that she is a little different from all other children in our Community, as she is not mentally impaired but physically, she belongs in PCC, the Community is her home.
Each and every day again new children with disabilities are born all over the world. And each and every child is God’s child and it has the right to belong, the right to be loved and to be cared for.
For unto us a child is born….
Let’s go on working at a world in which all children are welcome, in which all children are accepted in love, however brilliant or limited they may be. By the way, don’t we all have our own limitations…?
For unto us a child is born…!
We wish you all a merry Christmas, a happy 2015 and a life full of love.
Peace on earth and good will toward men.