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Just a little something

The smallest gifts can make a big impact

Every year our family packs a couple of shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, a Samaritan’s Purse initiative that sends gift-filled boxes along with the message of Jesus’ love to impoverished children around the world. It’s a fun, hands-on project that hopefully teaches our kids a little about generosity and the fact that many children live in circumstances vastly different from their own.

An acquaintance recently wondered if those little boxes are a good idea. For the administrative costs of marketing, sorting, shipping and delivering, couldn’t the money be better spent to help even more people where most needed? Are boxes of trinkets—such a little something—from North America really going to make a difference? When the distribution team leaves, when the toys break, when pens run dry and the soap is gone with no refills in sight, what then?

I suppose there’s truth in that.

And yet, when I read a story such as that of Damaris Vezentan—you’ll find it in our pages this month—I see such hope and joy. Because one person in a faraway country sent a little something, because they wrote John 3:16 on the back of a family picture, she came to know Christ as her personal Saviour.

“You can only love by giving,” says Vezentan. “Love always looks like something.”

Because someone did a little something for Inner City Youth Alive staff member Kevin Nyquest his life was changed forever.

“I actually had one Christmas that had a purpose to it,” he says of the year a family invited him, then a troubled 16-year-old, to their home. “It meant a lot to me that they basically called me their own child, accepted me for who I was, and didn’t care about my background or what I had done years before.”

Advent, that period of time leading up to Christmas, is a time of waiting, of preparing our hearts to receive God’s greatest gift once again. A tiny baby who likely seemed so inconsequential to many. A gift destined to change not just one life, but all lives. Love looked like something.

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If filling a shoebox isn’t your thing, that’s okay. But do something. Maybe that means supporting a ministry that trains nationals in sustainable farming practices. Maybe it means taking cookies to your next-door neighbour or inviting a vulnerable teen for dinner.

Our pages are filled with some wonderful examples of how people across Canada are doing “a little something” in their own communities. But there’s always room for more. Love looks like something. Fill in the blank and change a life. We can’t wait to hear your stories.

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About the author

Kelly Rempel is the Senior Editor for ChristianWeek.