I placed the items in the Christmas shoebox. It has been several years since I filled a box for a needy child; a child that will be thrilled with the necessities of personal hygiene and perhaps a few tiny toys or clothes, stuffed into a small box. I thought of my own children and grandchildren when they were young and the gifts they received. Often times they had so many gifts from relatives there was barely enough space in their car to transport all their gifts home.
I wondered about this little boy age two to four, the recipient of my gift(s). I would like to fill a huge box with large toys and lots of clothes, but they will receive one tiny box. I shopped carefully thinking about what would delight such a child. How could a toothbrush, soap or bandages possibly be exciting for any child? I tried to picture this little angel, wondering if he will receive anything for Christmas? Perhaps at his young age, his thoughts of survival are more important than whether or not he will receive a package for Christmas.
What if this precious child has never had a toothbrush? What if this child has never had a new shirt or socks? Then the tears flowed, as I thought of this precious life that didn’t ask to come into the world and certainly didn’t ask to be born into a world of poverty?
I used to tell my children often that “if not for God”, they too could have been born poor, handicapped, to parents that were abusive or unloving or countless other situations, “but God.” If not for God’s love none of us would be reading this blog today. My daughter and her children packed shoeboxes for children for many years, allowing her children to select items which they would like if they were the recipients. The churches packing these boxes are given supply lists for each age of child. As I shared with another person also purchasing items for her child, it’s so difficult to purchase only items which will fit into one small box.
Unfortunately, my concern is like that of many parents and grandparents in our culture of “wants and desires.” We desire to fulfill the wishes for the children we love. I had to realize that if the recipient of this box has basically nothing in his little life, anything he receives will be a blessing. Having worked with the homeless, both in my career and also as a volunteer, I have to realize that often times the smallest of gifts can be cherished as “pure gold” by these recipients.
More valuable than the minuscule gifts in the box, is the love the Christian staff gives these children and their families when these boxes are delivered. We all know at Christmas we truly celebrate the greatest gift ever received with the birth of our Lord Jesus. The shoeboxes are one small token to these children of the love Jesus has for all of us. Romans 6:23 NKJ “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
2 thoughts on “So Great To Be So Small”
Thank you Jane for the reminder of this ministry. We used to do this in a church we used to attend, but haven’t done it in years. I’m going to find a place that does it and get a box going
Chris, For reasons unbeknownst to me, I was truly moved this time as I was filling this box. I wanted SOOOO badly to buy so much and yet the box is so small and the list quite lengthy. (this will not be my only box). Chris, there were a couple of blessings I received while doing this. A gal that used to be one of my neighbors when Charles and I were married walked up to me and said “can you help me with something?” I looked at her and said “sure, and called her by name.” I reminded her of whom I was, as I don’t think she recalled me since we were in masks (yes, they are HIGHLY enforced around here :-). She was purchasing for the very same age child as I was and she was trying to decide which little shoes to purchase. She asked how I was doing and I told her of my current status and the struggles I’ve had. She too is now single (quite a lot younger than I am, closer to our children’s ages), BUT she and her ex are “best of friends”….spending holidays, etc. together w/their son (who is now an adult and on his own). You know Chris, as I walked out of the store, I was reminded again that GOD is in ALL details, no matter how large or small. I pray so earnestly that some day Charles might let go of his hatred of me and be willing for us to come together for the sake of our children/g.children. #ONLYGOD and that I know for certain.