Packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child has been one of my favorite Christmas traditions for a long time. When I was young, I got such a thrill out of buying gifts (with my parents money of course) for another child! I dreamed about the look on their face when they opened up their box and found all of the wonderful gifts I had so carefully picked out for them! I knew that they would treasure each item they received and be so thankful for the generosity of someone they would never meet.
Each year I wonder about the child that will receive the box I packed for them. Where do they live? What is their life like? Will they share these gifts with siblings? What do their parents do? Do they have parents?
I image they wonder the same things about me. They might ask what possessed a stranger to send presents to a child they’ll never know.
The church Brad and I attend, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Liberty, MO, has just finished a series over generosity – about living a life of generosity with our money, time, talents, and possessions because of the radical generosity God has showed us by sending His son Jesus Christ to die for our sins so that we might have fellowship with Him.
Packing my OCC box yesterday brought the truths the pastors of PV have spoken over the past few weeks to a reality for me. Acts 20:35 says that Jesus teaches us “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” But how often are we greedy with our money and time! How quickly I forget the joy that comes from giving a child a box full of goodies, or the blessing I receive when opening my home to the girls in my community group! Our selfishness creeps in and whispers, You can’t spend that $20! Or, You’ve been so busy lately, you don’t have time to meet with that girl. Remember, the Enemy is the Great Deceiver.
God is certainly teaching me a lesson in generous living during this season of giving and receiving. I pray that these truths may not be forgotten once the calendar marks 2015, but that my life would be marked by generosity through Christ.