I am so thankful for this organization that brings a little bit of the joy of Christmas to hundreds of thousands of well-deserved children every year. I am thankful that everyone has an opportunity to be a part of it in small or large ways, whether they are part of a church or a business group, whether they want to fill one box or ten, whether they want to contribute to a box that someone else will fill, or whether they want to volunteer to load a truck with boxes. And as a mother, more than anything else, I am thankful for the chance it gives me to help my children focus on making Christmas special for another child, one they haven't met, but a very real child who will get nothing else for Christmas this year.
Every year we pack two boxes, one for a boy Connor's age and one for a girl Janelle's age. They choose the gifts, and they give part of their allowance toward the gifts they choose. Today, when we went to the store together, I told them that they would not be allowed to talk about things they want for themselves. This trip was going to be only about the child they were buying for. I even threatened to fine them every time they said "I want this". When we brought our bags home they enthusiastically joined me in filling the boxes, excitedly talking about how their friends across the world will react when they find each item. I know it isn't a mission trip or working in a soup kitchen, and it isn't really asking my kids to deny themselves much, but it is a small way of making real to them the difference that exists between them and most of the children in the world. They will think about these children, and we will pray for them as a family. And the eyes of two precious children will light up someday soon because my children chose gifts for them to make their Christmas special. And my children's eyes lit up thinking about that. And I am very thankful.