Posted by: JennyRain | December 6, 2007

Operation Christmas Child: More than just a shoebox

This week a group of us from Greensboro trekked into Atlanta to volunteer at the Operation Christmas Child distribution center. Several churches in our area had lovingly packaged up hundreds of shoeboxes and shipped them off to OCC’s Atlanta warehouse. Our task was to ensure the boxes went through the final checkpoints before being sent off to the thousands of children eagerly awaiting their arrival in India.

For many children around the globe, this will be the only gift they see all year.

Our arrival at the center landed us in the middle of thousands of overflowing shoeboxes and hundreds of volunteers examining, packaging, routing, and shrink wrapping. Many volunteers had arrived before sun-up and would come back day after day and stay until sun-down. Their dedication and committment ensures that God’s grace can be felt in the welcoming hands of children around the world.

Shoeboxes were stacked ten and twenty feet high stretching the length of the 8,500 square foot warehouse. My church had given only a few boxes to this effort, but combined with churches all over the nation, a little plus a little had turned into quite a lot! As I scanned the room my heart was filled with the realization that God’s heart longs to impact every child and He has placed this longing in the hearts of His church to be His physical touch in this world.

One OCC center in one city. One volunteer who packed one shoebox with one toy. Sent with the message of Jesus Christ to impact one life.

But what if we multiply the impact ten shoeboxes might have in ten lives. Or think about the impact of fifty shoeboxes in fifty lives. What kind of impact could fifty children encouraged with the loving compassion of Christ make in our world? What about five hundred children who learn this Christmas that they are loved, cherished, valued, and known? How they could change the world with that knowledge.

Our team was assigned to the pre-sort area which meant we had the privilege of examining the boxes before they were shipped out. Pencils and crayons, coloring books and stickers, hair bows, shirts, socks, and princess tiaras, jacks and model planes, dolls and cars, and a four-layered Rubix cube were among the treasures that we touched in the boxes. Some of them, wrapped by families, included a picture and a letter to the child letting the child know he was valued and she was loved.

Many of the boxes were obviously wrapped by the child of the family who included some of their own precious valuables (such as a favorite mini-tonka truck or a pink hair-bow that had seen some better days). Though our direction was to include only new items, thoughts of children saying, “But please mommy, I want to give them my favorite barbie hairbrush. They may need it you know…” floated through my heart and I could not bring myself to remove the used item. Somehow, it seemed infinitely more valuable than the other shiny-shrinkwrapped toys.

The love and care that was put into each box touched my heart in a way that has redefined Christmas forever for me.


Could a simple gift change one child’s destiny simply because it shared the message that they were loved and valued, cherished by someone they may never meet in the name of the One who had fearfully and wonderfully crafted them and written each day of their life before they were even born? What kind of Love stretches around the world to provide a momentary Grace and redefine a destiny?

If I, with my earthly and imperfect love can cherish precious moments I spend with my friends children and delight in who their kids are becoming (as well as enjoy their funny antics), how much greater is the Father’s love toward each of His children in the world.

Christmas is for loving and cherishing children. All of God’s children… each of us included.

For more information see: Operation Christmas Child


All writings copyrighted by author. 12.7.2007 (c)


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