I love this time of year. Peppermint Mochas, claymation classic cartoons, pretty lights, and decorating a tree. Almost all of us are doing something family oriented and trying to slow down for a few days to enjoy time with family. One of the best things about Christmas is the opportunity it gives for family discipleship and missions.
At Connect we are doing a missions endeavor called Project Joy. We’ve helping 9 families from Amelia, Ohio by providing Christmas presents and food for them. We want each child to receive 4 presents on Christmas Day – something to wear, something to read, something they need, and something they want. We want each family to receive a food box and a couple of grocery gift cards to help during this season. In addition to that we are collecting movie passes and gift cards for these families to provide a family night out for them.
We divided up the needs and listed them on ornaments. If someone just wanted to do a movie gift card – take that ornament. If they wanted to provide an outfit for a kindergarten girl – there is an ornament for that as well. Our hope was that this would allow everyone to take part in Project Joy.
Jennifer and I took 3 ornaments because we have 3 kids. Normally I would take ornaments that are close in age to my kids, but we decided to take the ones that might be more difficult for others to do. We want our kids to enjoy this and help meet the greatest needs that we can. There is balance.
We took our family to Wal-Mart last night to shop. I talked to them about why we were doing what we were doing. I wanted my oldest daughter to understand that there are kids that wouldn’t receive a Christmas present if we didn’t help. We have been given so much and we need to help others that are struggling this season.
We started by shopping for a book for a little girl. We took our kids to the book isle and explained again this is not for them, but for a girl that is similar to their age. Options are a kid’s enemy. Too many options mean they can’t make a decision. We narrowed it down to a couple of books and allowed her to pick. Then we went shopping for clothing and shoes for the next kids.
When we left it was time for dinner. We went to a restaurant and took the ornaments in with us. These ornaments are made to decorate and the restaurant had crayons. Our kids were able to color the ornaments while we waited on our food. This was another opportunity to talk to them about our gift.
Our plan is to put the 3 ornaments on our tree. These ornaments are a reminder of the three kids that we provided for this holiday season. We are going to pray for these kids each night during our family devotional.
My hope is that this reminds our children that there are many kids in our community in need of food, shelter, etc. We/They need to step up and help those in our area. We are increasing their knowledge and understanding of poverty, but also planting seeds of prayer, generosity, and kindness in their lives. Plus it is a lot of family fun!