The young mom and her daughter were in the hair accessories aisle and carefully filling their buggy with multiple brushes. They seemed to be picking up several identical items and then I heard them discussing what would be best for a ten-year-old boy. I watched them for a few moments before asking if they were purchasing things for Operation Christmas Child. Smiles spread wide as they responded that they were. I smiled and said, “That’s what I’m doing today, too.”
As I made my way through the store, I started noticing others who had clear plastic shoebox type containers in their buggies with similar items to what I was purchasing, and I wondered, Are they buying things for “Operation Christmas Child,” too?
I left that store without finding everything I needed, so I stopped in at a larger department store to find shoes for the boxes I was filling. Again, as I spent quite a bit of time in that store, I kept seeing what looked like other customers filling their baskets with items for Operation Christmas Child.
A sweet feeling of camaraderie and fellowship came over me for individuals that I didn’t even know, but I felt we were all there with the same united purpose: sharing the gospel through the simple act of filling shoebox-size containers with gifts and the good news of Jesus’ love.
The feeling grew as I met with a few other young families at our church to fill our boxes together. We started our time by praying for those who’d be receiving our items, asking God to open their hearts to know Him. When we finished, the children gathered around our stacks to pray over the boxes.
Each child lifted such simple, faith-filled prayers for the children who would be receiving these little gifts.
My heart was soaring as I thought about the lessons these parents are passing on to their children: the need to share with others out of our wealth, the awareness of other’s poverty, the burden to share the gospel and love of Christ. As I continue to pray for the little ones who will open our boxes, I pray they will be filled with hope, with the knowledge that God cares, with the understanding that He is at work in their lives, and ultimately with grace for salvation.
If you’ve never heard of Operation Christmas Child, I hope you’ll watch the video below:
If you weren’t involved this year, you can start planning now for next year.
Consider a few suggestions:
*Begin gathering a few “extras” when you shop. Look for sale items: shoes or clothing at the change of seasons, school supplies, small toys, hygiene items. If you gather items throughout the year, it isn’t hard (or very expensive) to fill ten to twenty shoeboxes by yourself.
*Encourage your Bible study group, Sunday school class, or Facebook friends to join you!
*Pray for the children who will be receiving boxes this year.
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15)