Bringing the joy of Christmas and the love of Jesus to children is the perfect reason to get in on this amazing opportunity!
If you ever get to meet her, one of the first things our youngest daughter will tell you is about is her favorite day of the year. Although it would be fun to have you guess which day it would be, I doubt you would figure it out in the first three tries.
No, it’s not Christmas or her birthday (although she loves both those days). It’s not Thanksgiving or Easter either.
The highlight of her year is when our entire church community gathers for an old-fashioned apple squeeze and to pack the shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.
It’s better than Christmas.
And personally, it’s one of my favorite days as well. My heart nearly bursts to watch the kids’ excitement as they pick out the many sweet and practical gifts for each shoebox. They’re so taken up with their task; they’re not even aware I’m standing behind them—listening as they thoughtfully rifle through the options: “I think a little girl my age would like this!” or “I bet a young boy would think this toy is awesome!”
But do you know what else I love about this day? How the kids aren’t thinking of themselves in this process. Not one child wishes these gifts were for them or begrudging the crayons and toy cars sent out. Instead, they are thrilled right down to their toes to imagine some other child across the world opening up their box and shrieking with delight with all the goodies tucked inside.
Such a practical walking out of “putting others’ interests before your own.”
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. (Phil. 2:3-4)
However, the little children aren’t the only ones putting their hearts into this project. Because this year, when we went to collect the funds to mail out the boxes from each family, a young engaged couple quietly stepped in and said they wanted to cover the costs for all the boxes.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Nor was I the only one, as another older mom discreetly inquired if they had done the math for this generous offer? I’m telling you, we had packed a lot of boxes.
But, yes, they had “done the math.” Here they were, two weeks before their wedding date, desiring to be givers rather than receivers. Starting their lives together thinking of others rather than themselves. And I nearly cried. (Okay, I did cry.)
So now you can probably see why Operation Christmas Child is one of our favorite days of the year—the generosity, the selflessness, the joy. It’s a gift to us all, really.
And it’s a gift I want to pass on to you too, in case you might be interested in being a part of Operation Christmas Child. You may wish to participate as a family or with your entire church group as we did. Either way, I’d love to share with you how to get started and what you’ll need to do!
- How do I get started? You’ll find everything you need to know to start right here!
- Do we have to order red/green boxes?
- No! You can use ANY standard-sized cardboard or plastic box.
- What should we pack? Is there anything we should we NOT pack?
- Everything you need to learn how to pack a shoebox gift can be found here. That includes what kind of box to use, what items can be included, how to learn the destination of your shoebox gift, and much more!
- Where do shoebox gifts go?
- Where should I take my packed shoebox gift?
- There are more than 4,000 Drop-Off Locations around the United States during National Collection Week, the third week in November each year. Find the location nearest to you here.
- Is there still time?
- Yes! National Collection Week is Nov. 15—22 so start packing shoeboxes with your family now, and remember you can pack year-round too.
- What happens after my shoebox gift is delivered?
- Operation Christmas Child’s local ministry partners distribute your shoeboxes to children in their communities. After receiving shoebox gifts, many boys and girls are invited to enroll in The Greatest Journey—a 12-lesson discipleship program. Where long-term, caring relationships with children and families can grow by sharing the love of Jesus Christ.
- How do I get more details?
- For more stories, ideas, and resources, head over to samaritanspurse.org/occ.
Ready to Start Packing Shoeboxes?
Here’s the thing. Now more than ever, Samaritan’s Purse wants to collect more shoeboxes than ever before because now more than ever, children need hope! They need to hear the gospel of Jesus.
Maybe you have needed hope, too. Maybe your mode of serving and plugging in has looked totally different lately. And if so, this is exactly the kind of simple and fun opportunity you need to make an eternal impact as a family and to start some meaningful conversations with your kids.
Are you ready to get started? Happy shoebox packing!
National Collection Week is Nov. 15–22, 2021
*For more information on how you can help with Operation Christmas Child, here’s HOW!
In His grace,
* I was thrilled when the people from Samaritan’s Purse approached me about sharing my experience with Operation Christmas Child with you. So while this is a partially-sponsored post, please know that the content and opinions expressed here are entirely my own. (See my full disclosure here.)