Fall Promotions: Operation Christmas Child
In grade school, I never realized how little our one-income family had. My parents trusted God’s provision and knew how to spin “just enough” into a warm, secure childhood where Christmas meant singing carols around the manger scene every evening in December and a stack of wrapped gifts under the tree Christmas morning.
But my grandparents were missionaries in Haiti, and through their letters, I caught glimpses of a world where children didn’t live with the same abundance I did. “Little Elizabeth,” the daughter of a man with whom they worked, was a special fascination for me. I stared at her photo, her bright dark eyes and braided hair, and wondered what life was like for this girl who shared my name.
Still, I don’t believe it ever crossed my mind that Little Elizabeth, or children like her, might sometimes go without food. Without shoes. Without birthday gifts or Christmas gifts or a bed to sleep on. I didn’t know how to connect to her world.
This is why I find the work of our Christmas project partner, Operation Christmas Child (OCC), to be such a beautiful combination of practical provision and imagination. Each year, this organization provides shoe box Christmas gifts to millions of children in third-world and crisis areas around the globe. The boxes include toys, hygiene and school items, and a Gospel message (with follow-up discipleship training in many areas).
One of the most amazing things OCC does is to provide a hands-on link between kids in this country and children in need around the world. Imagine this: a six-year-old from a North American family chooses gifts, writes a letter and packages them in a shoe box. Their family prays over the box, for the child who will receive it, and later receives a letter of thanks from that child. Now you’ve got a six-year-old with a direct connection to another one of God’s children living a vastly different life. It’s a chance to build compassion and generosity, to open the eyes of both kids and adults, and to share Christ’s love with kids who may not even know yet He exists.
This year, as Orange partners with Operation Christmas Child, we’ve created some fantastic tools your can find on your account download page (look in September and October). Start with the Leader Kit, which will summarize all the available resources for you.
Have you been a part of Operation Christmas Child before? What was your experience like?