|Pouring over the Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog|
It warms my heart when I see my children conspiring to help someone else.
Discussions in our house have included being thankful for such things as we have, and contentment with godliness being great gain. And we've been talking about not having the kind of Christmas they are used to. The kind of Christmas they are used to is a fairly simple one. We buy very little in the way of gifts in a good year. This has not been a 'good' year. But frankly, I think it is a good thing for Christian children to be trained in thankfulness. My kids don't get avalanches of electronic gadgets, piles of clothing, and all the latest toys. And they say, 'thank you' when they open socks and underwear. Contentment and gratitude are so beautiful to look at in people.
In spite of receiving news that their own gifts will be minimal, my children gleefully brought out their piggy banks today to add their money to a small amount we had set aside to participate in Operation Christmas Child. We shopped for hours today, looking for killer deals so the money would stretch as far as it could, praying that the Lord would help us to pick things that would bless the child who gets it. Every year, the Lord lays some different things on our hearts to include, and we wonder about the child who will open the box. We have read stories in the newsletters about volunteers praying as they reached for a box to give a blind boy in the crowd... half expecting to pick the wrong one. The box is opened, and has a Walkman in it (I-Pod, for you newer generation people). A perfect match. We pray that for the box we pack. We talk to the kids about how we don't know this little girl, what she loves or who she is, but her Father in heaven knows every hair on her head, and He is able to bring this gift right to her.
Tonight before my daughter went to bed, she skipped over to me and hugged me, smiling happily. She looked over at the box we packed, and said, "I'm so glad we were able to get that much stuff!" It really is more blessed to give than to receive.
My husband and I have participated in OCC for many years, and when some of our children were younger, the shopping was not always easy. "Can I have...? I would like that!" Over the years, I have watched them change their tone. I think today I heard only one faint: "Mom, could I -- oh, wait! We're picking things for a girl who doesn't get anything." My kids don't complain that we buy more gifts for a total stranger than we buy for them every year. In fact, they give, too. And I am so proud of them.