A Box for a Hurting Child
Thoughts for December from Robin Sharp
Here we are once more into the Advent season. The season of joy and goodwill at the coming of the infant Jesus sent by God as saviour to us all and the promise of eternal life. It is, traditionally, a family occasion mainly centred around children of course, who find themselves often surrounded by a wonderful collection of beautifully wrapped presents. Their faces beaming and their excitement difficult to control. We’ve all seen it, we’ve all been there. God gave us his greatest gift at this time, so it is fitting that, in his name we should also give.
It is with this in mind that I wish to thank all who have contributed to Operation Christmas Child ( OCC) this year and by the time you read this the shoe boxes will have already begun their mammoth journey to a distant and impoverished country. Countries including those that are war torn or suffering oppression, and those enduring appalling poverty, resulting in huge numbers of refugees and orphans struggling to survive.
This month marks my 7th year of being involved with OCC. Each year thousands upon thousands of shoe boxes are wonderfully wrapped and filled with small and suitable gifts for girls and boys in three different age groups. Since 1993, the year of its inception, OCC has collected, processed and delivered over 135 million gift filled boxes to150 countries.
Involved worldwide, including the UK, are 12 countries which process this huge amount to make a brighter Xmas for a hurting child. It is the world’s largest Xmas project of its kind and the filled boxes demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world.
Once the boxes reach their destination they are then transported by lorry, bus, train, boat, dog-sled, mule, camel and even on foot, to hand deliver them. There are times when Xmas has come and gone before they reach the children, who often have no idea what is about to unfold as they sit in classrooms or community centres when the box is placed before them. They are then told to open them and their expressions tell the final story. I have, a few times seen footage of this moment and these expressions say it all. It can be heart rending.
I shall quote from Mike Barnes from OCC:
A CRY FROM MY HEART.
Why is it always the children who suffer?
Why do these little ones seem not to matter?
The kids are of such tender age,
Doesn’t it fill you with anger and rage
That these children are seemingly just cast aside
On the whim of a government trying to hide?
Why oh God have you let this happen?
Why is the graveyard full of these children?
You told us you were a God of love.
But how can you look on these kids from above
and see the pain and hurt in their eyes
And do nothing, just sit there as cold as ice.
Why don’t you do something? Why don’t you care?
Why is life for these kids so unfair?
They don’t deserve this, what have they done
To bring all this suffering down upon them?
Please can you answer it if only in part,
Please respond to this cry from my heart.
If you could see the tears in my eyes
when I see the pain in these little ones lives.
If you could see just how much it hurts
To see my creation being dragged thorough the dirt.
If my mind could be opened and my heart laid bare
You’d know for yourself just how much I care.
The pain in this world is not by design
I made this world perfect, it would have been fine
if man had not sinned and carried on sinning.
Tis man that has brought about all this suff’ring
The evil dictator said, “there is no God”
So don’t be surprised if he rides rough shod
Over all my compassion, all of my care
and bring about almost unending despair.
But enough of the past, what about now?
I say I am helping – you ask me how?
O why can’t you see what it is that I do?
I choose to work through people like you.
That’s why people travel for thousands of miles,
That’s why the staff have always a smile
That’s why the little that you can do
Can make such a difference – ’cause I’m in it with you.
Thank you once again to all who contributed no matter how small in providing joy to deprived children worldwide and a merry Christmas to you all.