For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’ —Deuteronomy 15:11
Around twelve years ago our church began participating in Operation Christmas Child. Even if you are familiar with this, please keep reading. We were introduced to OCC by Marianne (see post A Life, A Death, and Pasta Salad ). Someone who is crazy for shoeboxes is my friend J. My friend D. has had hers packed and ready to go for weeks now. Special ladies those two, trust me.
This year Veggie Tales has partnered with OCC to help spread the word of this ministry. Love those Veggie Tales - what a BigIdea!
All of my children love this cause; but there is a special place in my daughter Delia's heart for this shoebox ministry. She has packed a shoebox every Christmas for years and years. Each item is lovingly purchased with her own money, and ordinary items will not do. An entire day must be set aside because she shops store after store, carefully selecting for the child she envisions will open the box. If she is packing for a little girl there always, always, must be a doll. If it is for a little boy there must be a soft and squishy stuffed animal.
Delia faithfully checks everyone else's box, rearranging the items so that they fit perfectly, and in the process making room for more. Few can pack a shoebox as full as Delia, or with as much love. It has been a joy and a privilege to watch our daughter grow from a child to a young woman with a giving and knowing heart.
What does she give? A part of herself to each child.
What does she know? That her Father God will bless each box and each child that receives it. As she signs the letter that goes in each box she lifts that child up to our Lord with a special prayer for their salvation.
Won't it be great one day in Heaven when she has the unimaginable joy of singing and dancing with her shoebox children; for in faith we believe in answered prayer.
For the past few years I have watched Isabela plan her box and I see another Delia in the making. Already this year Izzy's box is wrapped and waiting on the counter - ready to fill with love.
One day I will post about my daughter Shelby's personal passion and a little girl we have all grown to love.
How is it, with all the mistakes I have made, that I have mothered such amazing girls? They are not perfect. Their bones are full of greed, selfishness, jealously, envy - all that sin stuff - just like their mama's. But through grace they have each accepted our Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior - and with His help each day they rise above their human natures and thrive in a world that is difficult for us all to understand.
Rewards await each and every one of us if we give with a heart full of Jesus; but, if you know Jesus, it is not your own reward you long for. You long for the knowledge that the list of party attendees gets bigger by the day (see post When the Roll is Called Up Yonder) if you pray and believe in the power you hold in your own hands.
Won't you pack a shoebox this year? Watch this video with Amy Grant and Matthew West and give this Christmas away. I guarantee you won't regret it.
Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.