Its was not even Halloween yet and I was thinking about Christmas.  (Maybe Walmart and the rest of consumerism rich America is not that far off.)  I was not thinking about it for me or mine, but for those who don’t have Christmas.  And I guess I was not really thinking about Christmas as much as I am thinking about LOVE….  and the love that can come from the experience of receiving one little gift.

This year will be the third year that I have geared up in October for an OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD shoebox packing party. I thought I would share with you why it started.  This will be a story of the first party.  Maybe it will inspire you to host your own.

The packing party started as a dream…. For years I had watched the DVD about OCC in church and dutifully packed my 3-5 boxes for me and my kids and wrote the checks for shipping, but I always felt that there was more to be done.  There had to be a way to make it more personal than duty.  Then God pushed me out of the nest and into the wilderness and it became a reality.

See, I knew in my heart that ministry did not have to be sanctioned by a physical church.  God wanted me to prove it.  So, while getting my bearings in the wilderness for a couple of months I asked a friend if she would help me have a packing party and she said yes.  I will do most anything (within reason) if someone commits to doing it with me.  I knew she would be here so I knew I would be ok.  If I had my friend here to hold my hand then even if it was a total flop I would still be with her she would let me cry on her shoulder.

But it was not a flop.  Friends poured into my home…  they brought boxes and candy and toys and toothbrushes and floss…  they brought tshirts and socks and princess crowns and beanie babies and bars of soap…  they brought their children…  they brought their money and they brought their prayers.  They brought their LOVE. We packed so many boxes that I didn’t have anywhere to put them…  and I had no idea what to do with them.

The lady that ran the OCC ministry at the church that I attended prior to this party was going through a really tough time.  Her husband, I believe, was either on the brink of death or had just passed away.  Still OCC was her baby.  I would find out later that just the week before the party she stopped by the table where all the empty boxes were out for the members to take and saw that there were still way too many that had not been taken and filled and was very upset.

Shortly after she saw that, the 70-some boxes that were packed at the packing party were delivered to the church along with the money to cover the shipping of the boxes.  I don’t know if she knew where those boxes came from. I don’t really care, because they did not come from me and I certainly don’t want the credit.  They were a gift for her from God…  he just used me to provide them.   I hope that they were a blessing to her…  a blessing as big to her as they were to the children that received them.  I hope that they were as big a blessing to her as they were to ME.

God bless each and every one of you…  Now…  GO PACK A BOX!