What is Operation Christmas Child?


This month I’m sharing patterns for pencil cases and the ministry of Operation Christmas Child, a mission that combines Christ, Christmas and children.

What’s so great about Operation Christmas Child?  Why devote a whole month – and a whole year behind the scenes – to this little ol’ shoebox ministry?

Let’s start at the top and work our way down.  🙂

Starting at the Top: The Cross


“Every good work should be a revelation of the glory of God.  What makes the good deed an act of love is not the raw act, but the passion and the sacrifice to make God himself known as glorious.  Not to aim to show God is not to love, because God is what we need most deeply.”

“It will not do, in this day of pluralism, to talk about the glory of God in vague ways.  God without Christ is no God.”

Quotes from Don’t Waste Your Life, by John Piper


Start at the Top: The Cross

Without Christ’s message of hope, salvation, rescue and access to the very presence of the Father for the rest of life’s journey, why bother sending shoeboxes filled with gifts?

Reminds me of a time when a particular ministry debated whether to remove the cross from their public materials.  Which reminds me of bloggers who have struggled with the same choice.

Questioning the Need of the Cross

Both groups struggled because they grew tired of the flak.  And the limits the cross imposed.


The ministry kept the cross. I can’t imagine this particular ministry – any ministry? – being effective without Christ Himself involved.


Some of the bloggers removed all mention of Christ and Christianity from their websites.  They went generic.

All I can hope and pray is that they – the flak-givers and the flak-receiversfind God in the mud, where He still dwells.


Reading the book, A Story of Simple Gifts, about the ministry of Operation Christmas Child I was reassured by Franklin Graham’s passion for – and commitment to – the cross.


Having Fun in the Middle: Christmas


Have Fun with Christmas

Christmas can be controversial.  But can we set aside our grown-up controversies for a child’s salvation?

Let’s use a season of joy and gifts to share the Gift of gifts, the King of kings.  And that can be plain old-fashioned fun!

Putting Feet to Our Hearts

Operation Christmas Child offers an opportunity to take our minds off:

  • The craziness of materialism for the sake of materialism.
  • Stress for the sake of holiday stress.

And to think about – and put feet to – the real reason many of us celebrate.

Operation Christmas Child lets us celebrate Him all year through too, like many of us would like to do anyway!


Look Down: The Children


Look Down: Notice the Children


Did you see the movie, Les Miserables?  Remember the song, Look Down?


When I hear that song, I can’t help but think of children who live below the radar of adults.

We must look down.

Not down our noses at their weakness and vulnerability.  But look down – even down at microscopes and sonograms – to see their lives.  Their value.

Operation Christmas Child lets us look up to the Lord, have fun in the middle with toys and shopping, and look down at the children of our generation, who need the hope of Jesus Christ to lift them up and carry them through this life and into the next.

Just like we grown ups do.


More Creativity for a Cause


REALITY CHECK: I’ve been getting some fuss for some of my homeschool retirement choices.  Just a wee bit.  A tiny wee bit.   Just enough to ponder Who I am ultimately serving anyway.  It seems like pressure can lead us toward His cross or away from it.  Hmmm, just like our sin.  And our victories. 

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  1. Marilyn Jaeger says:

    God bless you and all who take part! Operation Christmas Child is a wonderful program!

    • Thank you, Marilyn! He does – wow, He does bless! I have a somewhat potentially controversial post coming out soon with a FAQ: Frequently Argued Question about serving with Operation Christmas Child. I would love your input when it goes live. 🙂

  2. Will you be starting 2015 Operation Christmas child? I’m really interested in following this for the new year, please let me know when and how to get started. Thank you

    • Yes, I’m in for OCC 2015!

      In fact, I have some posts about Operation Christmas Child scheduled – the next one goes live tomorrow!

      The beauty of shoeboxing is being able to jump in whenever, wherever you can.

      The first thing to do as a new shoeboxer is to choose how many boxes you’d like to put together. You’ll be hearing more about how we started small in tomorrow’s post.

      Then, do you want to pack for boys or girls or a box (or more) for each?

      Then decide an age group for each box: Little guys (2-4 year olds), middle kids (5-8 year olds), older children (9-14 year olds).

      For tips on how to go about filling the shoeboxes, look over the 2014 Countdown Tips and my first set of Countdown Tips for 2013.
      If you are on Pinterest there are LOTS of ideas. Here’s a board to start the search: Shoebox Packing Ideas.

      Then keep your eyes out for gifts at the store – write OCC on your shopping list. And if you are a crafter, start making goodies! Tell family and friends what you are doing and as they may want to donate a gift, or craft supplies, or put together boxes themselves! 🙂

  3. How wonderful, Hillegass! I’d love to see a pic of your pencil case!

    Have you signed up for the blog posts by email? That way, you won’t miss any Operation Christmas Child posts. 🙂

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