Before all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season ramps up to full absurdity roar, we’ve taken a few moments as a family to put some perspective on gifts for our kids. This week, you can do the same, and bless a child in need at the same time. With the simple gift of a shoebox. Operation Christmas Child has been sending shoeboxes full of joy to kids all over the world for over 20 years. Samaritan’s Purse delivers shoebox gifts to over 100 countries. Over 113 million shoeboxes have been collected and delivered to more than 150 countries and territories since 1993.
My kids are 8 and 5-and-11/12ths (a very exact age for a little boy about to turn 6). They have no concept of what it is to be lacking anything. We try to broaden their world and talk about the differences between their lives and others around the globe. We read them missionary stories, they participate in Awanas and learn about kids with real needs. They donate money for a little boy in Sunday School. My sister teaches at an underprivileged school here in the US and we remind our kids how blessed they are constantly…even compared to children in our own area. Nothing has made the impact for them that packing a few gifts into shoeboxes did.
We shopped for shoebox stuffing gifts/toiletries/coloring items together. Browsing the aisles for the perfect items to include in our boxes. I cherished the shock on their faces when I said no to an item because it was a car decal (these kids have no cars) or book (maybe haven’t ever been to school/probably don’t read English). Recognizing kids around the world don’t have the opportunity to attend school was life changing for my own children. Processing the real conditions these kids live in thru shopping for them was a HUGE eye opener for my babies.They grew more intentional. More realistic. More aware of the thousands of gifts in their lives that they never even think about.
My son couldn’t get over the idea of no gifts ever. “Mommy?” he inquired as we were packing boxes back at home, “They don’t get Christmas presents, but at least they get birthday gifts…right?”. He was crestfallen when I responded with a “No buddy, probably not.”. “But”, he chimed back “they at least get cake…right?”. Recognizing the overwhelming blessing of something as simple as cake is not easy to convey to a kindergartener. Packing a shoebox did that for my son. What a gift.
We finished our boxes with a special note for each child including “Merry Christmas and Jesus Loves You!”, and covered them with lots of prayers. You can donate shipping costs online and get a label you can track. My munchkins can’t wait to find out what part of the world our boxes end up in.
This week, there are collection drop-off locations all over the country. Take a few minutes (that’s really all it takes) to gain a little perspective before the madness of Black Friday and 24-hour sales. While we are figuring out what to give to people who already have everything they could possibly want, kids around the world are wondering where they’ll sleep tonight, what they’ll eat. With a simple gift, you can show a child in need tremendous love. What goes into the box is fun, but what comes out is eternal. Be a part of changing lives through the power of a simple gift. You can find out more here: Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child. If you click on the videos…have tissues handy.
*This is not a sponsored post. I don’t work for Samaritan’s Purse or have any affiliation with Operation Christmas Child beyond my own personal desire to bless needy kids and teach my children the joy of giving to others.