The holidays are such a busy time that we sometimes forget to think of the less fortunate among us. Many of us will stick within a budget, but still do our best to get something special within that budget for everyone on our list. This year, my family will be adding two special children to that list and to that budget.
We have no idea who those two children are. We know only that without us, they would have little to nothing with which to celebrate the holiday. While I know gift-giving and receiving is not what Christmas is all about, I have to say – and those who know me know this already – for me it is not about religion so much as about family. As a non-religious person, I want to give for the sake of giving. I want to share the warmth and love we often forget to acknowledge in our normally busy lives.
Samaritan’s Purse’s “Operation Christmas Child” will help us do just that. Samaritan’s Purse is a religious organization. In fact the mission statement from the organization’s parent webpage is this:
Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ.
I deeply oppose having someone’s religion pushed on someone else but what I’ve heard about this organization is that they often give out gifts in countries where they are not allowed to include any religious instruction. So, although this organization’s purpose is to spread the message, gifts given are not limited to that purpose.
Bottom line with this program is this – through Operation Christmas Child, we have the opportunity to bring excitment, smiles and innocent pleasure to children who would otherwise do without.
So, what is Operation Christmas Child? It’s simple – it’s a gift-giving program for needy children around the world. To participate, all you have to do is find a standard-sized shoe box and fill it with small age-appropriate gifts like paper and colored pencils, tennis balls, rubix cubes and other stocking-stuffer-type items children will enjoy. You wrap the bottom and cover of the shoe box separately, enclose a $7.00 check (for shipping to the country where “your” child lives) and drop it off at a local drop center (or ship it directly to Samaritan’s Purse).
The mission of Samaritan’s Purse is to spread the word of God. The mission of my family is to spread the word of hope, of happiness and of life’s simple pleasures.
Go, and do likewise.
I think you and Samaritian’s Purse likely view the needs of destitute children much the same–spread joy and hope and simple pleasures to those less fortunate. This is truly the meaning of Christmas in my humble opinion.
What a lovely way to celebrate, Debbie and Linda. Giving gifts brings smiles and joy to children in need and is true humanity, at the center of all spirituality. Proverbs 17:22– A merry heart doeth good like medicine.
You’re exactly right – that is indeed the meaning of Christmas. Thank you. And I’m happy to have found Samaritan’s Purse. What a wonderful idea they’ve developed and nurtured – to fill shoe boxes with small items children can enjoy. Such a small thing with such a big meaning.
“A merry heart doeth good like medicine.” How true that is, Kathleen.
I think of the happiness innocent children around the world – and even within our own country – often miss out on and it breaks my heart. Making them happy with small gestures like this is one way to help lighten the load, even if only for a short while.
Debbie, you mentioned that the Samaritan’s Purse keeps the identities of recipients private, and that is important. After Thanksgiving our church will have a little tree on a table in the nave with tags that read something like, “Boy, age 11” or “Girl, age 17” for the similar joy spreading. People take a tag, and that tag goes on the package that is then set under the table. Most gifts go to kids at Orangewood which is a group foster home.