Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Little More Hopeful

"Peaceful, Snowy Christmas" by B, December 2008

Every December for the past three years, my son has gone to the ‘Share’ drawer of his allowance box and retrieved a collection of one dollar bills that has been growing over the course of the year. This year, his younger sister was inducted into the fun with her own, slightly smaller, collection of bills.

The sum doesn’t amount to anything earth-shattering - maybe thirty to forty dollars. We then head out on what has become one of our favorite shopping trips of the year.

We look for puzzles, drawing paper, colorful pens, pencils, and crayons, play-doh, sporty Hot Wheels cars (for the boys!), Hello Kitty jewelry (for the girls!), cozy socks, and whatever else strikes us as something that might be fun or useful for the patients at one of our local children’s hospitals or for the kids that will be chosen as part of Operation Christmas Child.

Our children get to choose the cause. And, while we may gently guide them to certain aisles of the store or give them little ideas, it is their money and, ultimately, their choice of gifts.

Every day, I give thanks for two healthy children and pray for children whose health, wellness, and safety have become battlefields they face daily. The little friend who is on his eighth round of chemotherapy for a brain tumor; the young classmate who lost all of her beautiful curls to the poisons trying to kill the leukemia; and the innocent toddler who can’t yet defend himself against a parent’s anger and lack of self-control.

I feel helpless. I can’t take the cancer away and I can’t shield them from being hurt by someone who is supposed to protect them. So I pray … alone, and then with my children, so they gain a sense of appreciation for being healthy and safe, and a desire to help those who are struggling with the opposite.

That desire to help is what our shopping trip is all about. After they have made their purchases, we drive to the hospital or the designated Operation Christmas Child drop-off site, where they pass the treasures along to a representative of the organization.

We don’t get to see any of the children that receive the toys, but we hope the gifts bring smiles and glimpses of joy to their faces on Christmas morning. Our gifts may be small in number, but they are a tangible way of feeling just a little less helpless and a little more hopeful. And, they are a way to celebrate love and generosity … the true spirit of Christmas.

23 comments:

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Kelly, that's awesome.

My girls fill the Samaritan purses boxes each year too. Each year they put a note in with their address hoping that they'll receive a letter back but they haven't yet. We still keep giving though, they know the need is out there.

MG Higgins said...

This is beautiful. Truly the spirit of Christmas and I'm sure your children will continue to give for the rest of their lives.

Tamika: said...

How wonderful! This is a great lesson in giving, and that is the true spirit of Christmas.

Sandi McBride said...

What a beautiful post. To be able to put a smile on one child's face, fill the empty space in one person's heart and tummy, to be able to give comfort to one animal who was left alone in the cold...those are my chosen abilities...I am so happy to hear that you and your family have those abilities, too. How blessed are you! Thanks for stopping by my place today and leaving a sweet comment. I'm all about new friends.
Sandi

adrienne said...

What a wonderful way to let your children experience the joy of giving. I love the Christmas artwork, too!

Phyllis Harris said...

This is such a beautiful thing that you share with your children! Your post is so well written, too! :o) Blessings to you and your family this year! :o)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

That's so great! We do something similar with our children - I think it's a valuable lesson in empathy and sharing.

Thanks for visiting Book Dreaming!

lotusgirl said...

What a precious gift you are giving your children.

Kelly said...

That is wonderful. We donate toys and clothes each year, but I've never had the kids give their own money towards a charity. What a meaningful shopping trip, too. Thank you for the idea, and thank you for raising great kids!

Suzette Saxton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suzette Saxton said...

Ahhh... love the peaceful painting! Good for you for fostering generosity (and creativity!) in your kids. Cute family photo. :)

The Things We Carried said...

Bless your sweet hearts!

Beth Dunn said...

That is really nice. I need to do that. xoxo

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Susan R. Mills said...

What a nice thing to do. You are teaching your children to care about others. Good for you.

Solvang Sherrie said...

What a fabulous way to celebrate the season and a wonderful way to instill in your kids the idea of giving to others. Love it!

PJ Hoover said...

Beautiful post, Kelly. Thank you!

Lisa and Laura said...

This made my day, Kelly. Thank you. I hope to do something similar with my kids once they're a little bit older. You are an inspiration!

CC said...

My son puts $2 of his $10 monthly allowance dollars in a give envelope. We send it at the end of the year to help our sponsor child in Rwanda (well, mommy and daddy help out too). This year we are buying him and his family a mattress (my son's choice).

Amy Tate said...

My children's school participates in that each year. What a wonderful ministry, and what a wonderful example you are for your precious babies!

Keri Mikulski said...

Beautiful post..

And thanks for the great idea.. I'm going to start this with my almost four-year-old.

Hugs and prayers to your children's classmate and family.

Shelli said...

thats so great! this year we are sponsoring a family and my daughter is excited about going shopping for them.

Kelly H-Y said...

I love all your comments and stories ... thanks for visiting!

prashant said...

Each year they put a note in with their address hoping that they'll receive a letter back but they haven't yet.

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