December 23, 2009
James 1:17 (NIV) "Every good action and every perfect gift is from God. These good gifts come down from the Creator of the sun, moon, and stars, who does not change like their shifting shadows."
Friend To Friend
Before you hit the malls and plunge into the last days of shopping frenzy, set aside some time to pray, asking God to direct your shopping trip and give you insight as you purchase each gift. Interesting thought, isn't it? I have to admit that I tend to plan, think and worry about Christmas gifts more than I pray about them. However, I recently heard a true story that has changed my perspective on Christmas giving.
Each Christmas, Operation Shoebox collects and sends over eight million shoeboxes stuffed with small gifts such as candy, school supplies, small toys, toothbrushes, soap, and shampoo to children across the world. In Mexico, hundreds of boys and girls gathered at the church in a small village, excitedly anticipating the arrival of their precious shoeboxes.
Delightful chaos erupted as bulging shoeboxes, wrapped in brightly colored paper and ribbon were passed into the small, eager hands of each child. Wrapping paper was hurriedly ripped into pieces and tossed aside, a smile spreading across the face of each child as their long awaited Christmas treasures were revealed.
However, one little boy dissolved into tears as he lifted the lid of his box and peered inside to see what he had received for Christmas this year. One of the Operation Shoebox volunteers spotted the little boy and hurriedly made his way across the church to see what the problem could possibly be. With the help of an interpreter, the volunteer asked the now sobbing little boy, "What is wrong? What is in your box?" With tears streaming down his face, the little boy said, "Socks!" The worker instantly understood and assured the little boy that he could trade his box of socks for another box that might have crayons or a piece of candy in it. Alarm spread across the face of the child as he vigorously shook his head and quickly jerked the box away from the now somewhat confused worker.
Clutching the shoebox to his chest, the boy began sobbing out an explanation to the interpreter who listened for a few moments and then, with tears spilling out of his own eyes, turned to the volunteer and said, "You won't believe this!" Taking a deep, steadying breath, the interpreter explained, "This little boy has a rare skin condition with which he was born. It seems to affect his feet more than any other part of his body. The doctors have tried various medications and treatments but finally told the little boy that nothing will work and his feet will never heal unless he begins wearing cotton socks. His parents cannot even afford food for this boy; much less provide socks for their son. So, all year long, he has been praying for socks."
Have you ever considered the idea that your Christmas gift may very well be an answer to someone's prayer? I have to admit that I have rarely, if ever, made a Christmas gift list with that criterion in mind. Always in a hurry, my first thought is usually how to find the greatest deal at the lowest price in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of effort and hassle at the first store I enter - and hope the person likes it - because that is what he or she is going to get. Ah, yes. That is certainly the heart of God, isn't it?
Join me in making this Christmas season different. Do not allow television ads, catalogues or shopping fliers dictate the gifts you give this year. Turn your Christmas list into a prayer list and you may very well end up giving an "operation shoebox" gift to someone you love.
Father, I so want to make this Christmas all about You. I pray that the gifts I give this year will be encouraging and truly helpful and not just items checked off of a list or obligations that have been met. Please direct my thoughts, my heart and my shopping trips. Help me to spend wisely, in a way that pleases and honors You. Give me Your heart, Lord, and remind me that Christmas really is all about You.
In Jesus' name,
Now It's Your Turn
- Carefully make your Christmas list for this year.
- Pray for each person on that list, asking God to give them peace and joy this holiday season.
- Consider making gifts instead of buying them.
- Give something of special value to you to someone on your list.
- Ask God to bless each gift and each recipient.
More From The Girls
Wow! To think that God can and does use us to meet the needs of people across the world is just amazing and humbling to me! Life is filled with miracles like the shoebox - many of which we won't know anything about this side of Heaven. But we can put feet to our prayers and give a gift in Jesus' name! Look around, girlfriend. Who needs you this Christmas?
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