Faith Column: Be thankful for blessings
This past week was the national collection week for Operation Christmas Child (OCC), an outreach of Samaritan’s Purse.
According to their mission statement, “Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ.”
OCC is just one facet of this organization. Taking a shoebox and filling it with toys, games, school supplies, and other important personal items can be so much fun, and the shoeboxes collected this week will be sent all over the globe for children to receive a bit of Christmas. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered more than 113 million shoeboxes in more than 150 countries.
But, these shoeboxes represent so much more than just fun and games.
After the boxes clear customs and make it to the remote places they go, there is a celebration, a presentation of the Gospel for the children and their families and then the big opening of the boxes. Many of the children who receive these boxes are invited to join a discipleship program to learn what it is to follow Jesus. This is a chance for them to learn about the greatest gift.
OCC is my favorite time of year, and I have been so blessed to participate for many years now. I love getting the chance to think of these kids and get stuff for them. I love watching people tell me what they put into their boxes. I love thinking of new, inventive things to do for the families that receive these gifts.
I also like that it is giving to those in need. Parents can teach their children to consider others around the holidays by enlisting their help in selecting items to be sent. Friends can get together and pack boxes. It’s a generous, Christmasy thing to do.
I think it’s wonderful that collection week hits right before Thanksgiving. In looking for the basic necessities and the wonderful toys to cram into such a small space, I often reflect on how blessed I am. In this time of holiday sales and overindulgence, a little perspective on just how much I do have is nice. Please, take a moment and think about what you have to be thankful for this year.