Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Like Kids on Christmas Morning

I love Christmas. It's my happiest day of the year. Nothing makes me more excited than the anticipation of seeing my loved ones tear open the gifts I so carefully selected and watching their reaction. Ok, Kelly, it's May. Why are you talking about Christmas already? Can we at least get through Mother's Day first? Well somehow our church service last Sunday turned into one giant Christmas party and it was the greatest gift we could have asked for.

There are kids in the world that have never owned a toy, have never been given a gift and have never been told they are loved. That's why Samartan's Purse began the ministry of Operation Christmas Child. If you haven't participated, you've at least seen the shoeboxes collected at churches and civic organizations. They are filled with goodies and treats and sent to impoverished children all over the world. Many times we've helped Nick fill a shoebox for Cub Scouts, Sunday School classes or just to teach him about giving to others. But we never really took much time to think about what it must be like for these kids to receive their boxes or the impact it might make in their lives. We knew they'd appreciate having a yo-yo or a Hot Wheels car, but we could not have imagined how God could use those little trinkets to inspire faith and bring hope--until now.

Since the school is shut down in December for summer break, there aren't many kids around to celebrate Christmas. That's why the staff waited until this past Sunday to deliver the good news. Every child on campus would receive a shoebox stuffed with gifts! After a short church service, we watched over 100 kids tear into their Christmas presents.

We were humbled by this experience. These kids have had very little to call their own and their gratitude for something as simple as a new pencil was inspiring. We saw absolute joy on the faces around us. And between the squeals of excitement of the younger children and whoops of the teenagers, we heard praises to God. It was a powerful moment we will never forget. And it makes me wonder: Why are we not shouting for joy every day at the wonderful gifts that Our Father in Heaven pours down on us?

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