I can remember back to years ago when my boys were just little tots. I wanted them to grow up knowing Jesus and living for Him, especially during the Christmas season. But Christmas in the 21st century had become a season of consumerism and materialism. My concern was that my sons would be consumed by the presents under the Christmas tree rather than learning about the presence of Jesus.
Oh, what’s a mom to do?
Well, I set out with a new tradition to shift their focus from themselves to others. One simple way we did that was by packing a shoebox filled with toys for Operation Christmas Child.
We did this as a family for years until we went through years of financial famine. My boys didn’t even receive toys from us during those years, so the last thing we could do was give gifts to others. But just because our finances prevented us from sharing the love of Christ with others through material items, this didn’t mean we couldn’t serve others in the name of Jesus. So, this is what we did.
Several years back, we had the opportunity to spend time at Operation Christmas Child’s Processing Center. It was really cool to go through each shoebox making sure it passed the inspection of what could be shipped to various countries. Some boxes were packed full of toys, while others seemed a little sparse. When this was the case, we stuffed the box with additional goodies!
My boys are now teens, and they’re still helping out Operation Christmas Child but in a different capacity. Now they’re behind the scenes as they pack huge boxes and stuff them with the individual shoeboxes and then drive them over to the processing center.
I would have never thought that planting a little seed into my kids’ hearts when they were little tykes would cause them to still serve and give to others years later.
This year we filled a shoebox to send off to a boy between the ages of 10-14 (it’s been said that this gender and age group receives the least amount of shoeboxes.) Well, this news just broke my mama heart since my boys are ages 14 and 15!
Operation Christmas Child uses shoebox gifts filled with toys, hygiene items and school supplies to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world. I want to be the kind of mom (and wife) that demonstrates this same thing so that’s why we’ve packed a shoebox in Jesus’ name and I’m encouraging you to do the same.
OCC’s National Shoebox Collection is November 16-23, 2015. During this week, you can drop-off your packed shoebox at local drop-off sites open across all 50 states and Puerto Rico. (see link below to find local drop-off locations)
Learn how to pack a shoebox here and then share your photo on your social media profiles with the hashtag #ipackedashoebox
Follow Your Box / Discover the Destination of your Shoebox. You can do that here.
Need some Shoebox Gift Ideas? Find some here.
Find Drop-Off Locations Near You, click here.
To find out more Operation Christmas Child, you can visit their website here.
And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35
Look at those faces! Will you show them the love of Jesus by sending a shoebox?
- Did you know that Operation Christmas Child is the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind!
- For many children, the gift-filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received.
- Since 1993, Samaritan’s Purse has collected and delivered more than 124 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 150 countries and territories through Operation Christmas Child.
- In 2015, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach another 11 million children.
- More than 500,000 volunteers worldwide, with more than 100,000 of those in the United States, are involved in collecting, shipping and distributing shoebox gifts.
Will you bless a child and show them the love of Jesus this Christmas season? I do hope so. Now, get to packing that shoebox!
Live a poured out life for Christ,