Friday, November 14, 2014

Giving: A Show of Gratitude

Operation Christmas Child
As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, we tend to look beyond ourselves and think about giving. Webster's Dictionary defines give: to make a present of... However, give is just a word with no feeling behind it. We add the emotion from something in our heart. A genuine attitude for giving might best be offered with gratitude: a feeling of appreciation or thanks.

Attitude is one of my roots of health and one way to improve your attitude is to show gratitude. Volunteer your time to the less fortunate. Giving to others helps us forget ourselves and our troubles. It tends to reinforce a thankful feeling within.

At this time of year one favorite family tradition has been to fill a shoebox with goodies and items for a child living in a third-world country who lives in dire circumstances and a seemingly hopeless situation. We accomplish this through Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan's Purse.

What is Operation Christmas Child?

Through a simple gift of a shoebox filled with everyday items, we can share the love of Jesus with a child on the other side of the world. Pack the box with toys, school supplies, toothbrush, soap, etc. Add a picture of your family and even a letter to the child. A tracking code may be added to let you know the destination country of your shoebox.

In 2007 I volunteered at an Operation Christmas Child processing center in Southern California and learned that boys ages 10 to 14 are under-represented in shoebox gifts. From that point on we always pack a box for a boy in that age range.
The Dollar Store offers lots of great items to include in a shoebox. For an older boy, I always include duct tape. Having been to a third-world country, I've seen what the children create out of empty liter bottles, aluminum cans and string or wire. Duct tape can be creative magic for them.

In addition to a t-shirt, here's what we put in our box:

Need a bit of instruction? Maybe this video will help... or at least give you a chuckle:

What kind of holiday family traditions do you have for showing gratitude?


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