Last year our church did a pajama and underwear drive for a local agency that works with Foster children. We were told that many children come into care with just the clothes they are wearing and would appreciate the small gifts of nice pajamas and new undies.
The ages and genders of various children were written on a pretty paper ornament and hung on a Christmas tree for us to choose from. My family selected “12 Year Old Girl” and sometime during the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping we tossed our gift into a shopping cart. We left it under the tree at church—and thought nothing more about it.
Until a year later, when we took a little girl into our home, agreeing to be her foster family knowing little more than her age and gender. Not her race, her preferences or even her name.
She knew even less about us.
But you know what’s beautiful? There were people who, without knowing the story of a child who needed comfort and a family who needed supplies had already been thinking about both of us. Just like the pajama/undie drive that we participated in, other churches, services organizations and kind people brought their gifts to the agency too with hearts to bless a little person when they needed it most.
What were these profound gifts?
School Supplies: When classes are days away and Target is almost empty—at least of the good stuff, we didn’t fret because a local church had donated backpacks, pencils, notebooks, glue and every other gizmo required for the first day of school. Our little one had what she needed to learn. Thank you.
A Teddy Bear: A big, giant, fluffy guy with a bow around his neck; the kind your daddy would bring home to you after returning from a long trip. Our little one had a Teddy to snuggle in her strange, new home. Thank you.
A Handmade Pillowcase: A colorful, kid-approved pattern that’s special and new. What a thoughtful way to adorn a new bed! Our little one slept deeply on pillowcase made just for her. Thank you.
A Small Quilt: Perhaps the most special gift of all. A local quilter’s guild made small quilts for Foster children—Linus and Snoopy approved! Who among us hasn’t watched a child snuggle a blankie for comfort? And when would you need comfort, more? Our little one received a beautifully-made quilt that continues to calm her heart. Thank you.
A transition like this is never easy—but thoughtful gifts and necessary supplies make it a bit easier.
The Harry Potter series is a favorite in our house. We love J.K. Rowling’s incredible imagination and the magical world of Hogwarts that she’s created, but I can tell you of something greater than fictional magic.
It’s love—especially the kind that asks for nothing in return; the kind that is content only with the recipient’s joy.
The strangers who lovingly donated pencils, stuffed animals, pillowcases and quilts to children they’d likely never meet, gave love to children who needed it most of all.
So to all of you who’ve taken the time, spent the money and added the thoughtful touches, our family says THANK YOU! Your gifts really matter.
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:34-40
"Lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles and run with endurance the race set before you. "