I stared at the empty shoebox in front of me and then glanced at the items next to it. There was a toothbrush, comb, toothpaste, hair ribbons, crayons, socks, toddler shoes, Chapstick, writing pad, hard candies, gum, flashlight, batteries and a small doll. As I placed the items in the shoebox tears filled my eyes. I was looking at the personal wealth of an unknown child. The w…orldly possessions of this nameless child were stuffed in a shoebox.

On Sunday, I placed my shoebox beneath the church Christmas tree next to dozens of other boxes that would eventually be distributed to needy children around the world. Looking at the mound of boxes brought a wave of mixed emotions. There was joy in knowing a child would welcome the contents of their box, sadness that I couldn’t do more, and gratitude for all that I have in this life.

Packing that shoebox was life changing for me. Now, when I see a shoebox, I mentally tally what items I could squeeze into the box to make a difference in a child’s life. I find myself purchasing items throughout the year for my shoebox children. I visual their smiling faces knowing they are overwhelmed with gratitude and a heart of thankfulness when opening their shoebox. And I give a name to every shoebox I fill. Last year I had eight shoebox children, four boys and four girls.

It’s unlikely I will ever meet my shoebox children while on earth, but maybe, just maybe, I can meet them on the other side. I hope you embrace the joy that comes from giving. It’s powerful and can be life altering.

“I tell you that in so far as you rendered such services to one of the humblest of these my brethren (children), you have done it to me.” Matthew 25:40
“Jesus, however, called for the children and said, “Let the little children come to me, and stop keeping them away, because the kingdom of God belongs to them.” Luke 18:16

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