“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’” Matthew 25:37-40
I could barely lift the bags and carry them down the stairs. The time for my yearly toy clean-up had come and I was determined to organize and clean my girls’ bedrooms from anything they didn’t use. As I dug into the toy bins, drawers and baskets, the toys seemed to be multiplying. I was overwhelmed by the quantity of dolls, games and gadgets.
After hours of cleaning, I had four 30-gallon garbage bags filled with toys galore for donation. Enough to entertain an orphanage. It’s sad to say, but the truth is, the two little girls who owned the toys don’t realize how blessed they really are. Most toys were untouched since the day they got them.
I bet many of you can relate to my experience. Most of the children I know have more toys than time to play with them. They get new toys on Christmas or birthdays, play with them for a while and lose interest at the blink of an eye. On to newer, bigger, better things.
And so we fill garbage bags and donation bins with stashes of dollar bills translated into entertainment that some children in the world will never experience.
So when my children started talking about Christmas this year, my husband and I turned their attention to the Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Catalog and to the Operation Christmas Child, an organization which Soaring with Him Ministries partners with since last year.
We told our children to pray about focusing on giving, instead of receiving this year.
We gave them two catalogs. We told them some of the stories, showed videos. And we suggested that they ask for one Christmas gift this year… and use the rest of Santa’s money to give to others.
I confess that the looks we got from them at first were not very affirming. They were not too pleased about not contributing to the American Girl Doll store’s bottom line this Christmas. That’s quite understandable. But we asked them to pray about it… and let us know.
This morning my heart sang, as I watched our girls giggle with joy while marking the catalogs with an X beside the gifts they’re choosing to give.
They’ve decided to bless people around the world with the gift of love in the Name of Jesus.
That’s the kind of extraordinary love I wrote about last week. That’s the kind of love I want my children to have: Not love for things… but love for people.
As we browsed the catalog this morning, their eyes sparkled with the thought of making Christmas special for someone they’ll probably never meet.
So they’re giving Baby Chicks to help feed children… “They can also become their pet”, my oldest said.
They’re giving Emergency Shelters for victims of natural disasters…
They’re giving Life Saving Food for starving families…
They’re giving shoes and clothing for children…
They’re giving Loving Care For Orphans…
And the Jesus Loves Me lambs for little ones…
They’re giving “The Greatest Journey”, a monthly gift to help volunteers teach children around the world about Jesus…
We are also organizing a packing party for Operations Christmas Child, where we hope to fill many boxes with gifts and prayers for children around the globe.
In each of these gifts that we are purchasing this year, our children understand that they’re giving much more than the much needed food, shelter… or the toy. Because we are partnering with Samaritan’s Purse International, we know we are giving Christ to the nations.
I’m not writing this to brag on my babies (although I am proud of them, indeed). I’m writing to challenge you to inspire your family to give extraordinarily this year. I’m writing to inspire you to give a gift that will never perish…
The gift of Extraordinary Love: The life-giving message of the Gospel, wrapped around a life-saving water well, or nourishing food, or sheep for poor families.
It is an honor to partner with Samaritan’s Purse International. I invite you to join the Soaring with Him team and help us make this Christmas one that will count for eternity.
Help us Share Jesus with the world!