When you live in America, it can be easy to forget that there are children all over the world who have never heard the story of Jesus’ birth, or received a Christmas gift. As Americans, we tend to get pretty wrapped up this time of year with Black Friday shopping, hanging lights on our houses, and standing in long lines to get our kids’ pictures taken with Santa.
But the reality is that there are millions of children all over the world who have never seen a Target ad, sat on Santa’s lap, or even heard the Good News of Jesus Christ. That’s why for the past several years, Steve and I have gotten involved with Operation Christmas Child — a program started by an organization called Samaritan’s Purse, which has delivered more than 115 million boxes to children in 150 countries since 1993.
Getting involved is easy. All you do is find a shoebox or plastic container, decide if you’d like to pack it for a boy or a girl, and look for gifts for a specific age range. We figure that most people enjoy shopping for little kids because it’s so fun to buy toys and games, so we typically fill our boxes with things for the sometimes overlooked teenage boys. This year, our boxes included hygiene products (washcloths, soap, hair comb and a tooth brush), school supplies (notebook, pencil bags, pencils and sharpener, and pens) and few fun things like hacky sacks and playing cards.
We just packed the stuff in an Operation Christmas Child box, paid the $7 shipping charge online at the Samaritan’s Purse website, and dropped it off at our church, which is serving as a collection site this year. I’m told that our boxes will be sent to children in Mexico this year.
It’s not a lot, but for some kids, a shoebox full of small gifts will mean the world this Christmas. It will provide a few things, give them hope, and prayerfully, the knowledge that they are loved by God and by us.