When I was a kid, I was pretty gift-obsessed. I took full advantage of Christmas and wrote out long wish lists year after year. When presents started piling under the tree, I’d seek mine out, inspect their size and shape - even give them a shake or two - to try and figure out what items I could mentally check off my wish list. These behaviors were certainly fun in the moment, but they also took most of the surprise of Christmas morning. By then, I wasn’t so excited by all of those things.
As I’ve gotten older, my wish list has changed from desired items to needed items and is now essentially non-existent. Working in retail during the holidays played a big role in this. Watching customers fight over things and argue with salespeople and other customers over things sure left a bad taste in my mouth. That’s not the Christmas I want to celebrate.
After becoming a Christian, I saw a new side to Christmas that I had previously missed. For me, it’s become more about responding to God’s Christmas gift to us - Jesus - by sharing that gift of love and hope with others. My favorite way to do this has been by packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.
First of all, I love the challenge! Initially packing a shoebox seems limiting - there are so many things I’d love to send but literally can’t because they won’t fit -, but once you start getting creative, it’s amazing to see how much can actually fit in a single box. The fellowship is another big draw for me. This year I asked family, friends, and co-workers to help me pack 20 boxes. With all of the donations and monetary contributions, a group of us ended up packing 25 boxes! The joy was contagious in my apartment that morning as we worked to get those shoeboxes ready. But what I love most of all is imagining the excitement these children will feel when they receive their shoebox. For many, it will be their first present, the first time they feel loved and like they matter. And what thing from a Christmas list could be better than that?
Written by Whitney
The 12:12 Project is sponsored by Katy First United Methodist Church.