No stingy shoeboxes
By Jessica Brodie
We roamed the aisles of the megastore looking for that perfect gift—one that would fit neatly into our Operation Christmas Child shoebox but not break the bank. One that would suit the gender and age range of the child we’d selected, while reflecting our Christian values (not to mention having a high-cuteness factor).
“This! It’s perfect!” one of my girls said.
It was—until I looked at the price tag.
“Ah, that’s a little more than I wanted to spend. I want you to find something in this price range.”
She looked crestfallen. We kept hunting, finally found something else, then proceeded to the next section. Time for toothbrushes, soap, and hair ties.
“Ooo, can we get this?” my other girl held up a sparkly headwrap.
My eyes flicked to the price.
“Mm, how about this one, instead?” I pointed to the less-sparkly, more utilitarian ones.
Twenty minutes later, what had started out a joy-filled project was now a chore.
We were browsing the clearance clothing when I hear myself telling them how important it is to do this because this might be the only Christmas present this child gets, and how it’s a great way to show the love of Jesus, and….
And then I realized: This might be the only gift. The only one.
Yet here I am, being stingy over sparkly headwraps and how much their “wow” toy cost.
Shame filled me as I remembered the reason we were here, the reason we were shopping, the reason we’d picked up the shoebox in the first place.
In its place now began to flow a new spirit a spirit of humility and generosity.
In 1 John 3:17-18, we are told, “If anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
May my heart continue to open to the needs of those around me, whatever that looks like.