We dropped off a Christmas Jar tonight. It was somewhat uneventful. In fact, kinda challenging...
First we have been thinking about it all month. It started when our oldest was looking for a small screwdriver to fix a toy. I told him it was with the coins in my room near the Christmas Jar that we've been adding to all year. An hour later, he had counted out all the coins and sorted them into neat little $10 piles. He totally forgot about the screwdriver.
We've put a lot of thought into deciding what makes it the right gift. How to properly do the hand-off. Whether we have enough coins in the jar. Whether we should include other items with the jar.
We finally decided to put together some extras to go along with the jar. But we still didn't know who to give it to. We prayed on a few different evenings to discover who to give it to. Then a random posting on facebook turned into a response from a neighbor who had the perfect family in mind.
So we finally got everything together, including a new book with a simple note inside. The note really meant a lot to us, because writing it forced us to reflect back on the past year and recognize God's hand in our life. With a simple gesture of collecting spare change all year, we have been reminded ourselves to care about someone else. We knew that God had made a change in our lives and we needed to pass it on to others.
The kids wanted to use the coins for pizza and "gifts" that we could give half to someone else and keep half for themselves. We used it as a teaching moment and explained that we have been saving them all year and they have been set aside for that purpose and no amount of reasoning or kid-logic would change that.
Anyway... tonight was the night that we went and dropped it off. We crowded into a small cramped rental car (our van is in the shop getting a new transmission). The kids kept poking each other, we made some wrong turns, and the parents were grouchy. We finally found the address after 30 minutes in the car, but nobody was home. We left everything on the door step and then went to the neighbor to ask them to keep an eye on it.
On the way home, everyone was a bit disappointed that it didn't go exactly as planned. The oldest was concerned that it might freeze in the cold. We assured the kids that the neighbor would keep an eye on it, and it wasn't cold enough to freeze anyway. More poking and crowded personal space. We finally got home and the kids have gone back to their favorite activities. Fortunately we had some nice Christmas music to get everyone calmed down and fresh popcorn at home set everyone straight.
So now we start a new jar. We already have our first quarter in it. The kids found it in the back seat of the rental car... :)
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Poking kids, grouchy parents, yet still a Christmas Jars miracle
Here's an unusual Christmas Jars delivery story to remind us that things don't always go as planned. Still, you can bet the recipient of this amazing family's jar is grateful this morning.