Thanksgiving Traditions: Blessing Bags and Operation Christmas Child, plus 1 more

Service is a big deal in our family.  Besides being a key part of claiming to love and follow Jesus, I think regular service grows great kids.  I'm going to refrain from a mini rant about how good service is for your children but hopefully you already know.

If you're looking for opportunities your kids can be involved in, here are a few we are participating in this year:

Operation Christmas Child

Shoe box ministry
via Creative Commons

Basically fill a shoebox or small storage tote with toys, art supplies, clothes, whatever, and then Samaritan's Purse delivers the shoeboxes via local churches to children in poverty.  

via OCC Facebook.  Ava loved this idea.

Shoebox collection is going on this week only, so you need to get on TODAY it if you want to participate this year.  I love this organization, love the project, love how fun it is for the kids to pick out toys and imagine other kids enjoying them.  Somehow I forgot to take any pictures of the kids putting their boxes together.

Passion City Church, via OCC Facebook

Blessing Bags for the Homeless


I know there are resources for people who are homeless, but some people can't or won't take advantage of them.  I also know there are some people who beg under fraudulent circumstances.  So what to do?  I have 
taught my kids to pray when they see someone standing on the street with a sign, and follow their hearts on whether or not to give to that person.  I hope that doesn't sound cold or arbitrary.  The truth is that I can't give to every person I see begging, and prayer is the best way I know to discern proper timing.  I have had God answer in my heart loudly enough to make me turn around and drive a mile back to give, so I feel like, you know, prayer works.  *grin*
Anyway, for situations where it seems like it's not wise to give money, I like the idea of Blessing Bags.  This is a Pinterest idea, as is the packing party that we will have on Thanksgiving.  My extended family decided to each bring a certain number of one or two items (e.g. 15 warm hats and granola bars) to our Thanksgiving gathering, and then put together bags from everyone's items.  Each family leaves with ziplock bags filled with useful items, and can then distribute them as their heart leads.

Regarding ambivalence about giving to beggars, a blog post from The Gospel Coalition resonated deeply with me, particularly the following portion:
In one of his Letters to an American Lady, from which we get another version of the “spend it all on drink” story, C.S. Lewis writes these other pertinent words on giving to beggars:
 "It will not bother me in the hour of death to reflect that I have been “had for a sucker” by any number of impostors; but it would be a torment to know that one had refused even one person in need."
I picture myself as I truly was, apart from Christ, in the light of God’s holiness. Unclean, undesirable, unjustified. A beggar. Jesus could have taken one look at me and come up with infinite excuses not to help. In fact, because he is God, with the omniscience of being God, he didn’t have to presume or predict — he knew that throughout my life, even after salvation, I would waste his grace like the prodigal moron. And yet, unhesitatingly, eagerly, with all the love of him who is Love, he gave me no mere pittance, but lavished on me the immeasurable riches of his kindness and mercy, united me to himself in spirit, and guaranteed for me the inheritance owed himself. Try being stingy and common-sensible with that reality crowding out your brain.

Jared C. Wilson at The Gospel Coalition 

Helping at a Local Food Bank

11126012 116
food sorters on union-mandated break

As you probably know, food banks experience a big increase in donations and outgoing deliveries this time of year.  Sorting and organizing the food alone is an enormous job, but one that requires zero special skills.  Families with kids of all ages can help, and babies too young or too toddlerish can probably be included (or just occupied) in a baby carrier or backpack.


Popular Posts