December 8th was a cool, clear, beautiful morning. An hour before the doors were to open, kids were beginning to line up at the front doors of the Memorial Building. Adults inside were checking out the unbelievable quantity and quality of gifts on the tables. There was a short meeting to share goals, procedures, and answer questions. A prayer was offered asking God to be an integral part of this fun day. We were ready. It was time to invite the children to come in.
The kids saw hundreds of great gifts to choose from all donated by many good people who live in Gladbrook (and also from some family members who have moved away). After completing tasks at the Check-in Table, the kids began to hunt for the gift that would make each special person in their lives happy. Kind and patient folks were close by to help the youngest find their way around the big room. At long tables in the back of the room were the diligent gift wrappers working nonstop. Two "Women from Bethlehem" were asked to share the Christmas Story with each child. The women accomplished their goal with storytelling, pictures, a little keepsake, and song. It's really not difficult to visualize the business everywhere. Everyone, children and adults, are giving all their attention to the job at hand. Kids were emotionally charged, yet focused. Most adults, at the end of the day, were physically exhausted, and spiritually filled.
Using the information gathered from the returned Gift Lists, we learned that there were more than 185 shoppers this year. When we completed our counting and figuring, we knew that our area kids took home more than 1,112 gifts!
Isaac Baer, Second Grader, finds the perfect gift for his grandpa. It’s a framed poem about the simple joys God has given us. I wonder who donated the gift that made Isaac and his grandpa so happy!
Kids' Shopping Day is not the project of one person, one church, one business, or one organization. It is the project of one God. Our God planted an idea, a willingness to work together to reach a common goal, and much love into the hearts of the people in our community. Blessings flowed to all involved in our Kids' Shopping Day to the "shoppers" and their families, to the many adult helpers, and to the onlookers who noticed God's love in action.
Help us find ways to make Kids' Shopping Day more efficient. Share your ideas with us. Thanks so much for all the ways you've contributed.
Remember, the Messiah is born. Merry Christmas!