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Sunday, November 05, 2006

On giving...

Got a phone call today from Becky, one of the girls in our small group. She asked what I thought of taking all the kiddos to Wal-Mart to let them pick out things to put in a box for Operation Christmas Child . I said it sounded great, sign me up.

So it began... eight kids, two adults, and Wal-Mart on a Sunday night. Do not attempt this at home. Now see, I've always said I wanted ten, so I figured this would be great practice. Two of the kiddos were mine, six belonged to another gal (actually, two are hers, the rest are foster kids). You know how I always gripe about my terrorists? They were little angels-the other kids were a little rowdy, but nothing I'd say was terrible or anything we couldn't handle. Not that I'd be eager to take eight kids shopping on a regular basis, but it was still a good time. I asked Becky, who doesn't have any kids yet (although when she does, she's going to be a terrific mom), "did you ever think you'd be wandering Wal-Mart with eight kids?" She gave a very emphatic no. :)

It was fun, watching these kiddos take the time to choose gifts for children for whom this may be all they get for Christmas. They chose things that they would have chosen for themselves. They were frustrated by the limitations on size (shoebox size). The older boys, who are around 9, thought that since we had socks on our list, the kids would probably need underwear. It occurred to me that in some of the poorer countries, they probably wouldn't know what to do with it, let alone care whether or not they wore whitey tighteys or boxers (yes, we had this debate). My daughter thought that if we were buying them socks, we ought to also buy shoes. Which makes sense, but how do you buy shoes for kiddos you've never met? Maybe next year, we'll catch a sale at the end of summer and stock up on sandals-you can fudge the sizes on those a little better. The boys also debated about brushes versus combs-some boys like combs, and some like brushes. For a couple of them, I settled the debate by getting a brush and comb set. The kids also wanted to share their favorite video games and DVDs. It never occurred to them that some children don't have access to those things, let alone to the power supply that they'd need to operate it.

As we drove home, my daughter asked me, "Mom, if these kids need all this stuff that we already have plenty of, don't you think they need food, too? Why didn't we buy them food?" Sure, I gave the simple answer of transport and spoilage issues, but I sure felt guilty about throwing away the corn dog her little sister didn't finish. And I remembered the child we sponsor through World Vision . I said a prayer for her, and hoped that tonight, she'll have enough food in her belly.

When we got home, the girls wanted to read a book, so we compromised and did a Bible lesson. I have these cards that we read, and I pulled one at random. This particular lesson was on frankincense. We learned about frankincense and how it was one of the gifts baby Jesus received. It made me realize that this was a good lesson to tie into our activity-we can't give Jesus a gift, not literally, but as it says in Matthew 25:40, what we do for the least of His people, we do for Him. In celebrating the birth of Christ (and yes, I know it did not literally happen at Christmas), I think the best gift we can give is to those who are in need. Really, it is a gift we should give every day.

I figured it cost us about $25 per box to fill it, and since we let the kids choose what they wanted, we could have probably done it for less. Add in $7 a box to send it, and for less than what you'd spend on a gift for your own child, you can give another child a gift of hope. I think we pay $35 a month to sponsor our World Vision child. I'm not saying this to say, "oh look how great we are, look how much money we spend." Honestly, it's not all that much. So I hope, that as you prepare to purchase gifts for friends and loved ones, also remember to buy a present for Jesus.


Cheryl Shaw said...

I think there must be a special place in heaven for anyone who would venture into a walmart with eight kids! :D

Danica/Dream said...

Cheryl, it was pretty fun. :)