After church (and of course McDonald's) my three grandchildren and I went to the dollar store to buy gifts to put in the shoeboxes to go overseas to other children. I will have to admit that this is the first time I had gotten them involved and it was fun.
I had two ten year old girls and a five year old boy. They would suggest things to buy to put in our buggy and believe me it was interesting. Brett picked out trucks with machine guns and so forth on it. I explained that we couldn't send guns, so back it went on the shelf. He picked pencils instead. A little safer, right?
Then we went the gamit from bubbles, play dough, chocolate candy, chap stick to crayons, and bottle water. I explained that the boxes might sit out in the very hot weather so we couldn't send things that would melt or leak.
As we approached another isle we ran into a lady who had been around us smiling as the kids would make a suggestion or throw something in the buggy. I said, "interesting to shop with three kids!" Turns out she was shopping for her own shoe boxes and said she was getting ideas from my kids.
We came home and they enjoyed packing their items into their individual boxes. We will get more in order to get it all ready to send. Then we will have to wrap the box in Christmas wrap and hopefully they will prepare a card to put in the box with a message to the child who receives it. We might even attach a picture so that they can know who sent them the gift.
The whole experience gave me a chance to share with them that this would probably be the only thing this child would recieve for Christmas, maybe all year. Made them stop and think, at least for a minute! I wish they could go with me in a couple of weeks to see the videos of the children recieving the gift. The joy on their faces as they open the box is worth any effort we put into getting it made up. I have enjoyed joining my friends the last few years to journey up to Boone to help inspect and pack up the boxes for shipment to the different countries. It is quite a process. Let's pray for this outreach across the many different countries, that God's love will be felt to all who recieve.
What a privilege we have to participate in this effort through Operation Christmas Child.