Community in a Shoe Box
Theology in the Trenches
by Kathleen Kjolhaug
It sounds like a sales pitch, doesn’t it? Community in a shoebox! With a shoebox, you, too, can build community. Or, Come one, come all…it’s as easy as lifting the lid on a shoebox.
I love shoe boxes, and I love the word community. Put the two together and you have something special. As of late, I’ve noticed both. The red and green shoeboxes canvassing church parking lots or carried in little arms bring light to the season and if I do say so myself, are becoming part of the very fabric of our communities.
Gathering goods in order to ship shoeboxes filled with treasures to little children round the world brings a smile. Little hands collect and stuff those boxes full to overflowing for others within our global community, and the excitement of this endeavor can be felt in big and small towns alike.
Displays are set up while posters help paint a visual for little eyes. Many carry the boxes home in order to gather goods so others may have something special to help celebrate the birth of Christ.
Little hearts ask how the shoebox is going to fly in the air and arrive at a place across the ocean. They are amazed when the big truck at the drop off point is filled with more boxes than little ones can count. Their hearts beat faster as their eyes light up and the magic of it all is what the season of Christmas is truly about. It’s about giving. It helps embed within the next generation…that which we so desperately want them to learn. We want to help them put faith in action by loving their neighbor as themselves and this is one small step towards that as they make their way in life.
Capable are the organizers who take on these projects. Hand to hand love is spread as faith in action demonstrates an overflow of the Holy Spirit. Church to church, school to school…community is built on common ground…red and green shoeboxes stacked high.
Under the arm and in tow are not just the children but the boxes this time of year as moms and dads leave the premises from where the boxes are handed out. Never mind there is the weight of a diaper bag upon one shoulder. Never mind that the hand extending from it is connected to a child or two or three…the shoebox does not drop. It is sacred.
With excitement the children have a bounce in their step. And, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. From parking lots to church entryways…to filling trucks which make their way across the country…to centers where teens as well as the elderly volunteer to help fill…it’s just one shoebox at a time.
This is community on a global scale. I, for one, am blessed to see it unfold. What a gift. What an honor to be a part of it in any form.
Thank you to those who have been called to minister accordingly. Thank you! Amen.