For my family Christmas is a time of giving. I’ve grown up in a home full of blessings from God. My parents taught me that we have been given everything that we need, because God loves us and takes care of us. And sometimes, we even get extra blessings, which are the things we don’t really need, but the things that are on the “want” list. I have also learned that many people do not have as much as I do. Some go without the necessities of life, such as food, water, clothing, shelter, on a daily basis. Others have what they need, but never get anything extra. I believe that because God has given much to me, I am able to share with others who do not have as much. I also believe that God gives to us so that we can bless others. Specifically during Christmastime, my family has found two ways to give to those in our community and to those around the world – through the Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box ministry and Angel Tree ministry.
The Samaritan’s Purse created Operation Christmas Child to send shoe box sized packages overseas to children for Christmas. Families can pick up a Christmas Child packet, which includes instructions for filling and sending a shoe box. Each packet lists the age and sex of the child. Shoe boxes can be filled with hygiene products, school supplies and small toys. To share Jesus with the child, Bible literature or a Christmas story can also be added to the shoe box. My family has enjoyed sending several boxes to children around the world. To join in the effort or find out more, visit the website – www.samaritanspurse.org.
Each year our community comes together to support low income families in our area through an Angel Tree. This is how it works: Families are selected and each child is asked what he/she would like for Christmas. Age, gender and clothing size are also noted. An Angel Tree volunteer creates paper angels with the child’s request and hangs them on a tree set up in the local convenience store. Members of the community, who choose to participate, can take as many angels as they like from the tree. By taking an angel you are committing to purchasing the requested item noted on that angel. All the gifts are brought to a central location before Christmas where they are wrapped then distributed to families. My family and I have had the opportunity to participate in almost every aspect of the Angel Tree ministry. We have interviewed families, bought gifts, wrapped presents and distributed items to families. The Angel Tree ministry provides Christmas for children and families who would not be receiving special gifts for the holidays. It’s a wonderful way for the community to band together and show love to our neighbors. If your community does not have an Angel Tree ministry, I encourage you to think about starting one.