About a month ago our church encouraged its parishioners to start reading “The Sparkle Box”. Our church has decided to do a series of things this holiday season where we give back to the community and reading The Sparkle Box to Jaydon has kind of gotten us into the giving spirit. There are so many people out there less fortunate than us and its only right that we give what we can. It started with collecting jackets for the homeless. I gathered all of our unused jackets and coats and I even asked members of my mom group to donate their gently used jackets and I think I dropped off about 20 coats to the church. The church has teamed up with KAFF county, a radio station here in town and the Salvation Army with a goal to raise 3,000 coats for the homeless people of Flagstaff. Police officers will keep some extra coats in their vehicles and if they see someone in need of one, they are to give them out.
In the winter time Flagstaff shelters tend to fill up fast so there isn’t any promise that a homeless person can just go to a shelter for warmth and with these below freezing temperatures, donating coats blankets, and jackets, are the least we can do right?
The second week we were asked to help feed a family for Thanksgiving. We were given a list of things to buy to feed an entire family (minus the turkey) for Thanksgiving. Basha’s helped donate the turkey’s on Turkey Tuesday and other organizations like our church handled the rest of the sides. So as a family, we bought the food and dropped it off at the church before service. All the bags of food were gathered. We always attend the first service Saturday evenings and the pastor hardly had a place to stand, but had to get through three more services, which meant three more donations!
After that, we were asked to donate books to kids because in Arizona kid’s fall way behind in reading. So I gathered books from our kids’ extensive book library and we donated those. I wasn’t quite sure that J Myster had really understood all that we were doing. But J decided one Saturday evening that he didn’t want to go to Sunday school, he wanted to “see God” like mommy and daddy. I thought it was so sweet because he said, “Mommy I don’t want to go to Sunday school today, I want to go see God with you and Daddy.” So we let him come with us. He’s four years old and its very hard for him to sit still, but he did great for his age. He enjoyed the singing and I really didn’t think he understood a word of what the pastor was saying but he picked up something about “giving”. When we got in the car he said: “mommy I want to give my blanket to a guy that doesn’t have one, because it’s the right thing to do”.
I was touched. We were making dinner after we got home and he grabbed a blanket and folded it up and gave it to me and said, “mommy lets give this blanket to a guy at the church.”
So far we’ve given blankets, coats, meals and books and we still have to do our Christmas Angel gift and I think my four-year-old has finally grasped the spirit of giving. The idea of “The Sparkle Box” is giving the gifts that God would want you to give. So each time you do something for someone else, you write it down and put it in the sparkle box. The sparkle box comes with a book that you can read to your kids to help them understand the aspect of “giving”, which is the meaning behind the sparkle box.
Then on Christmas day, you can open the sparkle box as a family and read the stuff you’ve done to help others. This is the real meaning of Christmas and that is supposed to be our gift back to God.
I love this concept and I love that my four-year-old has picked up on this and that Christmas is more than just getting presents. Of course, he’s still a typical four-year-old and has a list of things he wants Santa to bring him. But now he knows another side of Christmas and this will be our new family tradition.
What have you done this season to give back to your community or to teach a child to give back?
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