This is how we know what love is: Christ gave his life for us. We too, then, ought to give our lives for others! 1 John 3:16 (GNT)
I always love this time of year because it signals our church's Operation Christmas Child shoe box collection week. Everybody seems to get into the spirit of things as they pack shoe boxes full of toys, school supplies personal care items and well...lots of neat stuff!
Besides the joy I see on our students' faces as they pack the boxes, I personally love the stories that come from the children who receive the boxes. Several memorable ones stand out in my mind:
One little orphan boy didn't have much. But he learned in his orphanage Sunday School class that Jesus answered prayer. The only thing he wanted more than anything was a pair of gloves, so he prayed each night for Jesus to give him some gloves. He fully expected to wake up in the morning and find a pair of gloves at the foot of his bed, but it didn't happen.
That didn't dampen this young boy's faith though. He continued to pray. One day the Operation Christmas Child team came to his orphanage and distributed gift boxes. When he opened his box. he found the gloves he prayed for, and also a hat and scarf. Now he wears his hat constantly and proudly tells people that God answers prayer.
Another child received a box filled with nothing but socks. He began to weep when he opened the box. A worker came over to him and told him they could get him another box if he would rather have some different things, but he clutched the box to his chest and refused, still weeping as he told the worker why he was crying. The child had a foot disease and needed to wear socks to keep his feet from becoming infected. Being poor, his parents could not afford to buy the socks. God had answered his prayer for the socks he so desperately needed.
It never ceases to amaze me how God can orchestrate even the contents of a small shoebox, giving it to exactly the right child in answer to a prayer! I can't wait to hear more stories of this year's distribution!
Lord, help us to show our love in the care we take to fill our boxes. Show us other ways we can give our lives for others. Amen.