It’s that time of year! National shoebox collection week begins on Monday. That means that thousands of people, at thousands of locations around the country, will be collecting millions of gift filled shoeboxes for children in need around the world. I know it sounds overwhelming, but it’s quite simple really. It’s all about spreading the love of Christ through a little Christmas gift.
I know you can buy plastic tubs or get designated pre-labeled boxes, but we actually went the traditional route this year and loaded up one of SJ’s old shoeboxes. First we watched a video of what Operation Christmas Child is all about. Of course I’m the one that ends up crying, because it’s so touching to see how happy and grateful the children are and how God orchestrates just the right package for specific children.
Next, we went to the store and picked out a t-shirt, some toys, tissues, wash clothes, and toothbrushes. We also sent a photo of our family, and Z wrote a note since he is the only one of my children that can write and he was the one that chose to do a package for a boy his age. Finally we wrapped the box (with the lid still separate so that it can be opened without unwrapping). We had a bookmark that we picked up at the church that had a prayer guide on it listing specific pray needs dedicated to each day of the week. It was a nice reminder of what the main priority is in all of this.
The kids fought over who got to carry the box to the church so I confiscated it. It stands a better chance going through warehouses and cargo planes across the ocean than it does staying in tact in our household with three children! I wan’t sure how much my two youngest ones (Ezie-age 2 and SJ-age 4 who is deaf) really understood.
But as we sat in the Sunday school room waiting to find out where to drop off our box I watched Z signing to SJ and explaining to her that the box does not belong to us, and it is going to FLY away. She said and signed “Fly?” and as I watched them communicating in multiple languages at once I realized that the sign for “fly” or “airplane” is the same as “I love you”. Fly (the verb pertaining to airplanes) is just tilted and in motion.
As their little hands made the motion of the airplane over the shoe box it was like they were covering the box with love. The flying box that was full of love was going to make it’s way across the world to children that spoke yet another language. What an awesome reminder that God speaks a language beyond all of our barriers. We are connected through Christ and we have this oportunity to reach out across those borders in a way that says I LOVE YOU to God’s children on the other side of the world!
I think we will make it a tradition to sign a prayer for Operation Christmas child every year. Your children may also enjoy learning some new signs and covering the flying boxes with love. Christ’s love is really what it is all about. No matter what kind of box you use, what you put in it, or how many boxes you choose to fill, it’s all about the love that covers it. The love of Jesus.
If you are looking for information or details so that you can participate last minute then check out Samaritan’s Purse. I especially recommend this adorable how to video. This is a big week for this project and they need all the prayer and help they can get!