Why Operation Christmas Child Became A Part of My Every Day Life, Not Just My Gift Giving Routine
Every year around Thanksgiving something special happens in many churches, schools, and communities around the United States—Operation Christmas Child. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Operation Christmas Child, it is a once a year project sponsored through Samaritan’s Purse, that collects shoeboxes filled with small presents and necessities for children who live in third world countries. This small box, filled to the brim with goodies, shares a message of hope, love, and kindness to children whose days often reflect anything but those three words. This small act of kindness, enacted by a stranger thousands of miles away can often be the turning point towards a relationship with God for many of the recipients.
Every year Operation Christmas Child challenges and reminds me that small acts of kindness matter.
I don’t know about you, but with this past week of last minute Christmas shopping and driving to and from Christmas parties in California traffic, I have needed that reminder! Sadly, the furthest thing from our minds during the holidays can often be displaying kindness. Smile at the person who just stole that parking spot we’ve been waiting on for 5 minutes? Respond kindly when the sales person rolls their eyes at us when we asked them where something was located? Give the mom behind us our spot in the checkout line because she has two screaming toddlers? Often, my response is a solid, “No way”! Saying yes to any of these opportunities to display kindness can often be unthinkable.
It’s ironic how Christmas is the season of giving and kindness, however we often get so wrapped up in creating moments to be kind, that we miss what God places right before our eyes—we often miss a chance to be a part of an even bigger picture.
Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
God’s Word does not only say that we should be kind to one another, it throws in the extra reminder that this is how God treats us. I love how our heavenly Father knows us so well that He knew we’d need that extra nudge. God treats us with kindness for many reasons—because He loves us, because He wants us to feel His love, because He wants to be in relationship with us, and because He wants us to share His love with those around us too.
I don’t know where you are in your relationship with God, but I do know that for those of us who truly think about how kind and good He is to us, we know that the “small things” can add up pretty quickly to become big blessings.
So how do we reflect God in the moments where we want to be anything but kind?
What if we started by thinking of others when we are going about our usual day-to-day routines? What if we recognized and took advantage of the opportunities God placed before us, instead of trying to create our own moments? What if we answered questions like the ones above, with a resounding “yes”; not because we feel obligated, but because we know that if we say yes, we are showing that person a little love and maybe even a little forgiveness.
Operation Christmas child doesn’t happen all year. We can’t always send shoeboxes to a third world country, with a handwritten note about God’s love, but we can start showing that love to those He has placed around us. We can start showing those who we see in stores, school, church, and even work that they are loved through small acts of kindness.
As we near 2016, I can’t think of any better resolution than to become a little more like our heavenly Father this next year. What better way to become more like Him than to start showing kindness to those around us? Because those seemingly small acts can point to our big God and may even play a vital role in someone else’s becoming journey! So, let’s do just that! Let’s continue to become who God made us to be by displaying more kindness to those around us.