My school like many organisations has been busy collecting boxes and items for the Operation Christmas Child program sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse. I delivered the boxes to the collection headquarters today with my kids Tyler and Shannon, which is always fun and exciting. We felt like Santa’s helpers getting ready to load up the sleigh. I imagine the kids who will be on the receiving end of these boxes full of treasures, and it always makes me smile. Thinking that this may be the one and only gift these kids will ever receive in their lifetimes, is hard to fathom. In our society it is not uncommon close to Christmas to see our own Christmas trees at home overflowing with gifts all around it. We are really blessed in Canada. For many of us, we do not really need anything at all, yet are still fortunate to have gifts under the tree, year after year with our names on them.
Our family has been packing boxes for sixteen years. I remember the first year we got involved Tyler was only three. Shannon who was one at the time, was just too young to participate. Tyler on the other hand had a grand old time at the Dollarama with me. On a mission, he carried a basket around with much glee and enthusiasm. As I explained what we were doing, he was perfectly delighted to find lots of great treats and treasures that filled his basket to the absolute brim. To my surprise never once did he ask for things for himself. This was shocking to me as he was only three. No matter how loaded the basket got, he insisted on carrying it all by himself which was very commendable and sweet. When we were ready to check out though, he really struggled to lift his heavy basket onto the checkout counter. An older lady had been curiously observing us for quite some time. As we went to check out she very sarcastically said “My, aren’t WE a lucky boy!” Without missing a beat, Tyler completely put that judgemental woman in her place saying, “Look lady! These things aren’t for me. They are for the poor children!” The lady, now red in the face quickly apologized and immediately left the store. This is a moment I will always remember. It is hard to forget when a three year old, brings a busybody down to size. You’ve been told lady. Sorry to tell you but a three year old gets it better than you.
It is incredible how this program has helped people look beyond their own experiences. I have seen very poor families come in with boxes and items and I know what a great sacrifice that must have been for them. I have heard of others who instead of buying for each other, pack a box. Others host parties where they all bring items and pack boxes. This experience has really brought people together as they strive to show God’s love in practical ways throughout the holiday season. My students were so happy to bring in items and help me pack boxes. It really gave them an opportunity to understand how blessed we are in Canada and how giving to others is so very important.
I watched a video on Facebook recently of children receiving their boxes from Operation Christmas Child and was very touched with the indescribable joy that they showed when the boxes were placed in their hands. What really blew me away was one boy was dancing, high fiving his friends and jumping for joy without even opening the box yet. How many of us would show that level of appreciation before we even unwrapped a gift? Not many I am afraid to say. If anything, we MAY show a smaller version of this after the paper has been shredded, but definitely not before. This is an interesting thing to ponder. The excitement was felt at first in the mere gesture of receiving a gift, and the opening of the gift was really the added bonus. Wow! That short video was very humbling for me, as it showed extreme gratitude in its purest form.
When have I ever been THAT grateful? It is hard to articulate. Perhaps when I was a child and I received that much hoped for toy? I do remember when Cabbage Patch dolls were all the rage and I wanted one so desperately. Unfortunately if you were able to get ANY Cabbage Patch doll at that time, you were extremely lucky because they were always in short supply. By some miracle, my parents actually got one and surprised me with it for my birthday. Understandably upon receiving it I was beside myself. I could not comprehend that they had found one. They were THAT hard to buy! From that moment on Raymond Fred and I lived happily ever after and to this day he is a doll I still cherish. My parents had such joy giving him to me too. It was very sweet to witness them grinning from ear to ear as I did the dance of joy with him. Pauline Glorina came shortly after, yet she was not quite as difficult to find, as the craze had then settled.
Getting gifts has become common place for us. We don’t have to wonder IF we will get something, but instead wonder WHAT we will get. This Christmas, let’s not forget about those who are less fortunate. Let’s reflect upon the types of kids who are a part of the shoebox program. Let’s learn from their example and be truly grateful for all we have. Their thankful hearts and appreciation are absolutely inspiring and we can learn much from them.
Until next time,
1 Thessalonians 5:18 ~ Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Little Lesson Learned: An expression of extreme gratitude is at times a rare occurrence. Let’s
be mindful of all we have this holiday season and beyond.
Copyright: littlelessonlearnedbydana, 2015