Follow the Goats 7: The meaning of Christmas

Follow the Goats 7: The meaning of Christmas | World Vision Blog

It’s nighttime in Zambia. Billy and Grampa Goat are resting in a goat shelter after a long day spent with Lita Munkombwe and her three goats, Mama, Maria, and Mbuzi.

What is the meaning of Christmas … for goats? Today, at the end of their journey around the world, Grampa Goat explains to Billy the importance of that starry night many, many years ago. Read the conclusion of their adventure!

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My grandkid Billy and I have traveled the world to explore different cultures and find out how goats can be so helpful in places where World Vision serves.

We started in Mongolia, where we met Dulamsuren. It was kind of like meeting a movie star. Dulamsuren has graced the cover of World Vision’s Gift Catalog not once, but twice. Dulamsuren keeps her dreams in a “dream book”—a scrapbook filled with certificates, awards, and magazine clippings. She wants to become a teacher someday. Billy and I found out that the gifts from World Vision’s Gift Catalog are helping to make that dream come true.

Follow the Goats 7: The meaning of Christmas | World Vision Blog

We then traveled to Burundi—quite the opposite of Mongolia in just about every way. We stayed with Chania and her family and saw how goat manure is bringing life back to a land that is steeped in conflict. Chania is also a World Vision Gift Catalog cover girl, and if she could, she’d dance off the pages of the catalog. This happy little girl is always in motion with a smile on her face—a smile that comes from having healthy food to eat and parents who love her. What more could a girl ask for?

Follow the Goats 7: The meaning of Christmas | World Vision Blog

We spent this week with Lita Munkombwe in Zambia—a landlocked country, south of Burundi. Today, Lita is an active, joyful mother and grandmother, but six years ago, she had lost everything, and I mean everything. All of her animals had died due to foot-and-mouth disease. She had learned she is HIV positive. Without animals for food and income, she couldn’t feed her family or put her grandchildren through school.

Follow the Goats 7: The meaning of Christmas | World Vision Blog

Then her miracle happened. World Vision arrived with five goats from the World Vision Gift Catalog. Those goats turned Lita’s life around. We spent today touring her compound with some of her original goats, Mama, Maria, and Mbuzi.

Billy ran and played with all the goats—there are 37 now!—and we found out how income from selling goats has provided Lita with all that she needs—a new house, clean water, a garden full of nutritious food, income to send eight grandchildren to school, and even savings—for the first time ever. She’s part of a group World Vision started for people with HIV who work together to fight the stigma they used to face. Stigma has been replaced by stamina. Lita is a strong woman!

Follow the Goats 7: The meaning of Christmas | World Vision Blog

We’re both pretty tired tonight and spending the evening in Lita’s goat shelter. The shelter is a wooden hut raised above the ground. It is constructed of thin tree trunks, wrapped in vines, with a thatched roof. It’s comfortable. I love the warmth in this little hut and the sounds of goats dreaming all around me.

This goat shelter is a bit like a log cabin. The tree trunks don’t fit together perfectly so I can see what’s happening outside. Looking up, I can’t take my eyes off the stars. I’ve never seen so many stars or the stretch of Milky Way that runs through them like a soft, beautiful cloud so brightly as I have on this trip, Mongolia to Zambia.

Follow the Goats 7: The meaning of Christmas | World Vision Blog

With Billy sleeping by my side, I am certain that I have never experienced a greater moment of joy. And with all these new experiences firmly planted in my heart, I now have a deeper understanding about what it means to give.

I’ve loved watching the World Vision staff at work. Love shines through their actions. I’ve seen how they are motivated by their faith in Jesus to bring fullness of life to children around the world.

I nudge Billy to  wake him up. I want to tell him what I’m feeling.

“Billy,” I say.

“Yes, Grampa,” he replies sleepily.

“Look at the stars,” I say. “Those are the same stars that were shining in the sky on the night the baby Jesus was born.”

“The same stars, Grampa?” Billy says, now fully awake.

“Yes, Kid. God created every one of those stars when He formed the earth and He calls each one by name,” I say. “And there was a special star the night that Jesus was born.”

“A special one?”

“Yes, Billy,” I say. “A special star that led shepherds to a place much like this. A place filled with animals and a manger where Joseph and Mary placed their precious child. Those shepherds spread the Good News that Jesus Christ was born.”

“It must have felt a lot like tonight, Grampa.” With this, Billy snuggles in a little closer, deep in thought.

“It was just like this,” I tell Billy. “A perfect night. A star-filled sky. The soft sounds of animals. Shepherds filled with wonder. A mother and a father, gazing with awe at their perfect son, a son who would one day give his life to save our world.”

“I think I understand why people all over the world give now, Grampa,” Billy says in a whisper. “They give because of what He gave.”

“I think I understand now, too, my dear boy.”

And nestled there with my precious grandson, surrounded by Lita’s goats and gazing at the stars with fresh, new eyes, I knew I would never be the same.

Follow the goats on their adventures! Read Grampa's blogs, watch their video series, and find the whole story here.

This Christmas, share in the big dreams of a child in need. Choose a special child to sponsor today!

Join us in providing better nutrition as well as income and so much more to families in need. Give a goat!


*This post and characters are a work of fiction by Kari Costanza and Matthew Brennan.

Photos: 2015 Jon Warren, Eugene Lee, and Robert Coronado/World Vision

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