As I shopped this week for items to fill up some of the Operation Christmas Child boxes we would be making this weekend at Greater Love Baptist, I thought about how the simplest of toys would bring such joy to those kids who would be receiving a box this Christmas. Operation Christmas Child is a nonprofit program which provides gifts to needy children throughout the world.
Jump ropes, bouncy balls, crayons and coloring books -- items that only cost a few bucks would bring hours of fun to kids who don't know what a Wii or an Xbox is.
I remember my 55-year-old grandfather playing hopscotch in the driveway with me. All we needed to play that great little game was some chalk. You couldn't replace that memory of us playing together with a million electronic toys.
At one of my birthday parties as a young child we played pin the tail on the donkey. I can still hear the laughter that rolled into the room when I pinned the tail on something else -- which was a someone else -- instead of on the picture of the donkey that hung on the wall.
We live in a nation that is abundant in everything. Yet we still want, want and want some more. We no longer know how to sit down and just be in a room with someone without our phones glued to our ears and our computers turned on. And most of our kids do not know what the game of hopscotch.
I am pregnant and I can tell you right now, this child that God is allowing me to carry will know about the "old-fashioned" games. We will have dinner at a table with one another and we will have family time together.
I know there will be times when dinner at the table every night won't be feasible, especially if our child is involved in sports, but we'll do our best.
This week as I shopped for other boys and girls who don't have anything and may never, and this week as I learned the news of a sweet couple who lost their sweet baby boy, things were put in perspective for me.
We all need to unplug from things and plug into one another's lives. We need to spend more time with our loved ones and less time with things. What a perfect time of the year to put things in order to do that.
Don't wait until the New Year to make a pledge to spend more time with your family, when we are never promised tomorrow. Don't wait until something bad happens in your life for your eyes to be opened now.
Maybe, just maybe, you should go get a shoebox yourself and fill it up. Go to the Dollar Store and buy items that fit into that box like a jump romp, chalk, bouncy balls and wrap it up and give it to your family for Christmas. Make that shoebox the beginning of a family night and be reminded when you pull that box out to pray for the all the boys and girls, young and old, around the world who need Jesus.
Julie Wells is the editorial assistant in the newsroom at the Rockdale Citizen. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.