She Named Him Emmanuel
In most of Africa, people leave their rural homes to go and work in the cities, living in temporary shacks. They travel home maybe once a month, or if they are fortunate, once a week. For this reason, Christmas is a favorite time of year. The cities empty out, the trains are clogged with people inside and out, going home for almost a month to spend time with their families.
Anelly was a gracious 65-year-old African woman who worked at an orphan care center in the city. She was seated on one of these trains headed home for Christmas. Across from her sat a girl. You’d struggle to guess she was 14 years old, and she was holding a newborn. The girl was gaunt and her skin dull, a strong sign she was suffering with AIDS. The train came to a stop, and people flooded off and flooded on. The girl said she needed to use the restroom and asked if Anelly could hold the baby. Anelly took the bundle and the girl went into the station.
Five minutes went by and the bells and calls to board sounded. Anelly stood, concerned that the girl make it back in time. Her eyes scanned the crowd. And then the train jolted as it began to roll. Anelly was panicked, checking the train to see if the girl was anywhere. And then, in the crowd on the platform she saw her, standing still, looking at Anelly with tears rolling down her cheeks, and she mouthed the word “please?” Anelly was familiar with the act. A mother who could not care for the child and would not live long asking a loving person to take their child as their own. And Anelly took him home. And because God sent him to her at Christmas, she named him Emmanuel.