For the past 2 years, my girls and I have happily prepared little gift shoe boxes to be sent overseas through Operation Christmas Child to children that we believed needed them. The boxes contained an assortment of things a girl or boy of a certain age range would find delightful or necessary. A couple of toys, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a bar of soap, a washcloth, a small coloring book and crayons… you get the idea. But after reading a few disheartening articles and blog posts early in the holiday season, and feeling ultimately confused and not 100% “on board,” I opted out of participating in Operation Christmas Child this year (side note: I am not posting any links to these articles because I don’t completely agree with everything each article stated… if you want to read some just google “Operation Christmas Child Criticism”).
My 6 year old called me out.
“Mommy, remember how we filled up those shoe boxes for the kids last year? Are we doing that again this year?”
Cue the mom guilt.
But, I had a response! Because after deciding to not participate, I felt led to do something… something local. I prayerfully considered the decision and how I would explain things to my daughters. I told them about what I had learned and the 6 year old responded with: “Why don’t we fill up some shoe boxes and give them to some kids who live near us?”
Good idea, kid.
But, unfortunately, it was already too late. Christmas was just a couple of days away and I was scrambling around with holiday preparations for my own family and I didn’t want to rush doing something meaningful for another family as a result.
I spent Christmas mulling it over. I decided on this: Instead of celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas, how about the 12 Months of Christmas?
Instead of being generous and getting the warm-and-fuzzies because we helped someone during the holiday season, why not do something for someone in need all year long?
And so, here is where we are: We’ve decided that on the 25th of each month (regardless of the day of the week), starting in January, we are going to do a service project. We are going to give to, do something for, or serve someone in need. No, I don’t have 12 service projects already lined up. But, I’ve got one and that’s where we’re starting.
We are going to keep it local, so we can be assured that our efforts are not in vain and that our resources are not misused for an alternate agenda (more on that at another time). We are going to get creative because, budgets. And yes, I’m also doing this so my children will learn the importance of serving others.
I will update after each service project is completed to let you know how it goes. And if you have ideas for ways we can serve our local community, please share!