Live Out Joy & Compassion: Operation Christmas Child

by Heather on November 1, 2012

This past weekend I was humbled in a big way. Saturday morning I woke up and went to Walmart to buy a plastic shoebox and a bunch of fun things to fill it, praying that I would pick the right things to bless a sweet little boy somewhere in this great big world.

The concept of things that kids like is still pretty new to me. Wes is at the point where he just wants to explore everything, and usually his toys are the last on that list. He likes spoons and jump rope handles and shaker bottle lids – those are his favorites right now. As for toys and things that other kids enjoy though? Still kind of clueless.

So Saturday morning I’m standing in the middle of Walmart, people swarming around me, and just trying to imagine what a little boy somewhere in Africa or Asia or South America would want for Christmas. I’ve seen the pictures of kids who have literally nothing, and the only thing I can imagine them wanting are the things that I take for granted every second of my day: clothes to wear, a roof over my head, a pillow to sleep on, a warm and SAFE place for my family to live. And I just stood there, at a crossroads in Walmart’s shopping aisles (and apparently in my own life) just looking at all of the STUFF around me.

I imagined what it would be like to bring that little boy – the one we built this box for – to Walmart and just let him go crazy getting whatever he wanted.
What it would be like to bring him to our house, for him to see the food and the overabundance of soft blankets and the pillows that are overflowing onto the floor in our guest bedroom. For him to see that our dogs have massive fluffy things to sleep on. For him to see all of the things that we have and the way that those things fail to bring us joy.
I imagined how he would feel to see that the tangible things he’s always wanted are tucked away in the closets of people across the world, only to be thrown away after years of storage. How those things would help him learn and grow, and how we just sit here and hoard it all for the sake of having our stuff.

I know that this may be a heavy dose of perspective, but I have to share it because as I stood there my heart changed. It broke for the things that break God’s heart. It felt heavy and dirty and bratty and rotten for taking all of the blessings in my life for granted. However, change has to start somewhere; it has to be instigated somehow and some way. This past weekend was my heart’s instigation, God’s way of teaching me that I can do better than just SAY that I believe in Him – I can GO and DO and TEACH and GIVE the love he’s so freely given me. I can live out that joy.

This Christmas season we’re starting with Operation Christmas Child as a way to make a small change in one child’s world, and as a way to start teaching Wes the spirit of generosity and compassion from an early age. It’s an amazing program aimed at showing Christ’s love in a tangible way to a child in need through boxes filled with Christmas gifts. Although Weston is too young to really “get it” right now, we want to be the kind of parents who teach through the way we live our lives. The instructions are all on the website, but here’s the rundown:

  • Get a standard cardboard shoebox or a shoebox-sized plastic container. You don’t have to wrap it, but you certainly can!
  • Decide if your gift is going to be for a boy or a girl. The age ranges are 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. Print out the appropriate label and check the category!
  • Fill the box with gifts – toys, school supplies, hygiene items, hard candy, gum, new clothes, etc. Add a personal note – if you leave your address the child may write back!
  • Include a $7 donation to help cover the cost of shipping and other costs.
  • Drop off at your closest collection center during the week of November 12-19, 2012.
  • !!!IMPORTANT!!! If you don’t have time or you don’t have a collection center nearby you can also donate a box through the Build-a-Box program online! Perfect for deleting any excuse to not do this 😉

I have to confess: I’m selfish with my money. Instead of donating to help others, I buy expensive chocolate with sea salt and yet another bottle of fancy shampoo. I know that there is a lot that I can and should forgo that would help save people across the world through education, clean water, food, shelter and helping to provide safety. Our box, with the $7 donation, will have cost about $30 total (which is the same amount as the Build-a-Box program), and is well worth it to know that it will bring a beautiful little boy joy in a time of need.

My hope and prayer for all of us this: to live out the commandment to love others as we love ourselves. When we love ourselves by buying Christmas gifts and lavishing love on our family, I pray that we would do the same for those who need those gifts and that love more than anything in the world. We have been blessed with much – let’s take the time to bless others!

Now what are you waiting for? Go out and build your box!

This holiday season build a box with your family to teach kindness, compassion, and generosity.

Operation Christmas Child and influencer marketing platform BlogFrog have teamed up with 200 bloggers like me to spread the word about this great cause.

BlogFrog will match the first 200 boxes that are built. Pledge your commitment below to build a box today on Facebook or Twitter!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Operation Christmas Child. The opinions and text are all mine.

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