Shoe box

November 10, 2008 | 11 comments

It was so easy, took less than an hour, and cost us $29.15.

From a simple act, will come great joy. What joy it already has brought! Let me tell you about it …

This year, as we’ve done for several years, my daughters and I headed to the store for our favorite Christmas shopping moment of the year. Our trip to the store is part of Operation Christmas Child, a ministry that brings joy and hope to children around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes.

Inside the Dollar General, I handed each of the girls — age 6 and 4 — a Rubbermaid shoe box and let them choose how to fill it. I imagined they might head straight for the Barbies, but given the freedom to decide, they displayed a rare moment of practicality and first stuffed the boxes with socks and Snoopy bandaids, toothpaste and tablets. Then, naturally, they scooped up little dolls, stuffed monkeys and Juicy Fruit gum.

They studied the hairbrushes carefully, each choosing one that they thought would best suit girls who were beginning to take form in their imaginations — with real personalities, preferences, hair color and mommies.

We headed to the cash register with two boxes weighed down with love.

When we got home, Lydia and Anna wrote letters and drew pictures for the children who will receive the gifts. We packed the boxes, filled in the gaps with Tootsie pops and mints, then decorated the lids with markers.

Somewhere, in some faraway place like Malawi or Kazakhstan, two little girls will receive the joy-filled boxes before Christmas. But in Iowa, two other girls — mine — already experienced the joy of giving.

In aisle one of Dollar General, right by the hairbrushes, Lydia turned to me and asked: “Mommy, why does this feel so good?”

The answer:

… the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35


There’s still time for you to be a part of Operation Christmas Child. National Collection Week is November 17-24. Here are ways you can help.

PRAY: You can sign up here to commit to pray for the thousands of boys and girls who will receive shoe boxes this year. Pray that through the gifts and Gospel literature, these children and their families would come to know Jesus Christ.

GO SHOPPING: Grab your kids and head to the store to pack your own shoe box this year.

GIVE: To support Operation Christmas Child financially, you may visit their donation page.

What’s your Operation Christmas Child story? I’d love to hear. And if you’ve posted your own photos or stories on your blogs, please provide a link in the comments section here. God bless!

by | November 10, 2008 | 11 comments


  1. Turbo:

    I love this, Dukes! Mo and Mac will love it, too! Thanks so much for sharing this with us!!!

    xo–Love you!

  2. the voice of melody

    Our church does this too, it’s such a great thing to do. I need to get shopping to fill one for a girl and another for a boy.

    Many sweet blessings!

  3. Minister Mamie L. Pack


    This is excellent. We usually help a local family through schools and churchs, but this is another great way of helping them with giving. Thanks for sharing.

    with blessings,

    Minister Mamie

  4. editer


    My kids in Des Moines will be heading to the store, too. Great piece. Blessings,

    Jay Wagner

  5. Turbo:

    Tired of the blogosphere? No. Tired of the drama it’s created in my life. Hell to the yes (sorry, I’m a sinner)! Family is still ranting about my religious vents. I guess there’s not much I can do about that other than ask them not to visit. Oy vey.

  6. lynnrush

    I love it! What an awesome thing doing that with your children. I’ve done Operation Christmas before, and your daughter pegged it. It feels so good to bless others.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Billy Coffey

    Operation Christmas Child has long been a part of our family, and it’s become my children’s favorite Christmas activity. Rather than spending their allowance on things for themselves, they save and buy for the shoeboxes. It’s evidence that the blessings we can give to those in need don’t have to be expensive.

  8. Chrissy

    Brigid and I are getting ready to make our shoes boxes this year. Such a great tradition to start with the little ones! Our MOPS group is also doing this!

  9. Daffernia

    Gifts filled shoe box… what a great idea!!

  10. Christina Berry

    I teared up when I read your daughter’s question, “Why does this feel so good?” Thanks for sharing the moment. 🙂


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