Thursday, April 16, 2015


Alpha and Omega, installed in Rochester, MN

My family and I have participated in the Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child several times. Each time we've assembled a box (or boxes), we've prayed for the boy or girl who will receive the gifts. We've carefully chosen an assortment of practical items like combs and hand lotion to include. And we always try to have a couple of really fun toys or other frivolous trinkets, just for fun.

The past couple of years, I've watched on Facebook as the Operation Christmas Child boxes were delivered, enjoying the photos of children all over the world receiving gifts. My 8-year-old has enjoyed that, too.

The thing I've never done before is have my child be a recipient of a shoebox. I had almost forgotten the evening we spent at another local church right before Christmas. We sang carols, listened to a wonderful preacher, and enjoyed worshiping together as a family. Following the service, the group who had traveled from Texas to our community on the reservation had gifts for all the kids. Our wee one joined the line with much anticipation and received a shoebox.

A couple of days ago, our daughter was cleaning her room. She came out carrying her shoebox, still filled with gifts. I asked her why she hadn't taken them out in the four months since Christmas...

"I just think it's so cool that someone loved Jesus enough to give me gifts, Mom. I don't want to take them out. I like thinking about the person who gave them to me."


I wonder how many children around the world are holding on to those shoe boxes filled with little gifts that don't really cost us much in money or time... holding on to them, being grateful that someone halfway around the world or across the country or on the other side of town loved Jesus enough to give them gifts.

And maybe the person who packed her box intended it for a Native child on the reservation, but I hope that s/he would be blessed to know that our daughter treasures it and feels blessed by it.

It also made me think about the items I have packed into those shoe boxes. I'm pretty sure that I will intentionally add something that the child recipient can wear or carry to remember that we loved Jesus enough to give him/her gifts.

The Bible speaks many times about how we are to treat the poor (Psalm 41:1-3, Proverbs 22:9, Isaiah 58:6-10, for just a few examples). God tells us to love Jesus enough to take care of the hungry, the weak, the orphan, the oppressed, the downtrodden...

What do you love Jesus enough to do?

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