We were so excited, this year we got to spread cheer across the world! Well, to one little boy between the ages of 5 and 9. We participated in an awesome program called Operation Christmas Child, which is sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse.
I had brought home an excitingly colorful shoebox and the kids were curious as to what this was. After all, who doesn’t like a bright red box with little cartoon children on the side and a decorated airplane on top, right?!
Once we cleared up the fact that this was not a gift to our children (maybe a teeny bit of disappointment for the kiddos) and started to tell them who this special box was for, they couldn’t wait to go shopping for their new little friend they most likely would never meet.
What a wonderful experience this was! We chose a boy between ages 5 and 9. After all, we know a little bit about boys in that ages group. And off to the store we went. Now, sometimes it can be a little difficult for young children to understand that the toys are for someone else. I’m not going to lie, there may have been a few tears shed because the shopping excursion did not yield a special present for our kids. But this is all part of the experience!
It was a great opportunity to remind our kids how the recipient of this box lived. What he had for toys, a home and what his life was generally like. We showed our kids a video of the kids receiving and opening their Christmas boxes and it was electric to watch the joy and happiness on the faces of the children who received a gift.
So we thought about what we could get for this little boy. What kind of things he would enjoy and how we could get as much stuff into that box as possible! Fun things, silly things, crayons. A notebook for drawing, lots of Match Box cars, a stuffed animal and a cool football! Oh, and some cozy socks!
We got home and laid out all the gifts onto the kitchen table. “How are we gonna get all of that stuff into this little box?!” But you know what? It all fit! Perfectly!
We said a little prayer over this box and sealed it up, complete with a special sticker on the front that connects us to the box. That way, we can track the box and see where it goes!
So once our box was ready, Daddy and the kids took it to the drop-off location. What a fantastic operation that was, too! Who knew so many loving and caring people were involved in such a great world-wide operation!
At the drop-off, we got to see the entire process from when we first get the box to after we drop it off. It was so neat to see where all the box goes before its final destination into the hands of an excited little boy on the other side of the world!
We also got to see all the volunteers who locally coordinate receiving filled boxes. They prepped them for packaging and delivery to the place where more volunteers will then load them for international shipment. These boxes will be delivered to more than 200 countries around the world and ours will be one of them!
The only down-side to this is that our kids don’t get to see the little boy’s face when he opens his gift. But we can only pray that he enjoys these special items picked out just for him. And that along with those gifts, his little heart and mind are open to the message of the Gospel that’s coming with it.
What a fun project this was, and it was kind of a last-minute idea, too. I just happened to walk by a stack of empty boxes and picked one up, but I assure you that this is a new family tradition that we will enjoy doing to begin the Christmas season!