I know it’s early to be talking about Christmas … but …
I never did like doing Secret Santa at work. It seemed those that participated were buying things for people they may not know very well, and the gift price was so little-you had to spend more money to get anything really worthwhile so that you didn’t look like a cheapskate. The whole thing seemed pointless to me, because none of us really needed a gift, and nine times out of ten, wouldn’t like what we were given anyhow.
That brings me to the Samaritan’s Purse Project, Operation Christmas Child. My husband and I did a shoebox last year for a boy aged 10 – 14. Given a list of possible gifts, the object is to fill the shoebox with small gifts and toys and gloves or hats or mittens that a girl or boy might really love to open at Christmas. These shoeboxes are sent all over the world.
This year we again are participating, filling two boxes this time. I absolutely love doing this shopping! I taught students in this age bracket for thirty-seven years and have the inside scoop on the kinds of things they might like. For some reason, I can more easily shop for presents for boys. It may be that as a Drama teacher, I loved active games and activities, and so did my little guys. Anyway, it is a delight. I was able to get a yo-yo, extra strings, two small LED flashlights, camoflage duct tape, juggling balls, a harmonica, two silly straws, and the wow gift … a slingshot type soft dart toy that zooms into the air producing the automatic feeling … WOWZER!
I got to thinking why it gives me such pleasure. I think it is because I know the kind of gifts that would please these boys and bring them joy. I imagine them opening these shoeboxes and hearing their surprised ‘oohs and ahhs’, even though I am not even there.
2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Dear Lord, Your Word says, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:11
“O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Psalm 139:1-5
You have blessed me Dear Lord in more ways than I can begin to count! The necessities of air, water, food, and shelter have been provided, and yet, I have seen how You, Master Designer and Creator, have in minute detail, created a world where even the necessities are beyond compare in loveliness, awesomeness, and grandeur.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:25-26
Thank You, Dear Father, for the many gifts you have bestowed on me, unworthy as I am. Saying, “Thank You, thank You, thank You,” over and over for a billion years would not be enough to cover the blessings and provisions of my needs and more wants than I could ever imagine. In this season of Thanksgiving, I pause to consider the lilies.
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?”
We Plough the Fields and Scatter
Lyrics: Matthias Claudius Translator: Jane M. Campbell Music: WIR PFLÜGEN
We plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the land,
But it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand:
He sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain,
The breezes and the sunshine, and soft, refreshing rain.
All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above;
Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord, for all his love.
He only is the maker of all things near and far;
He paints the wayside flower, he lights the evening star;
The winds and waves obey , by him the birds are fed;
Much more to us, His children, He gives our daily bread.
We thank Thee then, O Father, for all things bright and good.
The seed time and the harvest, our life, our health, our food.
Accept the gifts we offer for all love imparts,
and what thou most desirest,
our humble, thankful hearts.