Many of you already know I deeply dislike the loss of Thanksgiving in the mad commercial rush from Halloween to Christmas, but one Christmas tradition that simply must be addressed before Thanksgiving is Operation Christmas Child.*
Operation Christmas Child is a great way to teach your children about how blessed they are and how they can be a joyful blessing to a child in another country. It can be so hard for kids to understand what it means to "share God's love" with others, but they totally understand the love of opening a box full of toys. When they can give that love to someone they don't know, someone living in poverty half a world away, sharing God's love becomes tangible for them.
This afternoon, I shared the video link on this page with my boys before we went shopping to fill their shoe boxes. Nick initially planned to buy for a 10-to-14-year-old boy, but decided to go younger when he found an adorably soft stuffed dog that we can barely squeeze into the box. Jack had a hard time understanding that a DVD wouldn't be appropriate (he does love his movies!), but he decided on matchbox cars, play-do, bouncy balls, colored pencils, a pencil sharpener, a pad of paper, and lots of candy.
And yes, we ALWAYS include a toothbrush and toothpaste in our boxes. My momma was a dental hygienist, after all.
During the holidays, I'm sure that like us, you have lots of opportunities to provide needed toys, coats, shoes, and other supplies for children in your local area. Operation Christmas Child, however, has to have the boxes early to get them where they need to be. National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child is November 12-19, so there's still plenty of time for you to participate. If your church isn't participating, you can find the nearest drop-off location HERE.
It's so tempting to think that you can't really make a difference. After all, the world is full of war and famine and poverty. One shoe box of toys isn't going save a life or end war or world hunger, nor will giving a coat to a child in our community take him out of poverty or ensure he has a hot dinner every night.
But if we all give a little, the difference we can make is enormous.
Mother Teresa said, "We cannot all do great things, but we can all do small things with great love." Jump into the holiday season by doing a small thing with great love...either through Samaritan's Purse, your church, a secular organization, or your local food pantry.
Show great love in small things, and you show God's love.
*For those of you not comfortable giving to explicitly religious organizations but who want to find a cool giving opportunity for the holidays or year-round, I highly recommend Heifer International. Though Heifer was founded on Christian principles, it evolved into a non-religious organization committed to ending hunger world-wide. I just love the good work they do!