Inside Out 262: Gifts to Jesus: The Sparkle Box

12.05.12 | Martha Manikas-Foster

No one plans to wake up exhausted on December 25, weary after a month of concert going, cookie baking, and early-morning shopping. Decorating our houses to imitate the pages of Southern Living, wrapping each gift the way they do on Oprah.com, and scouring the address book to make certain to include Great Uncle Hiram on the greeting card list is a full time job--a full-time job that we add to our already full-time lives.

I don’t know anyone who believes that the meaning of Christmas hangs on how well we decorate the mantle or whether or not we scooped up the best electronics bargains on Black Friday. But sometimes we live like we do.

The Grinch taught generations of television viewers that Christmas “doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!”

Sunday school teachers taught a good number of us that Christmas is the birthday of the Christ, the Messiah, “the One who was to come” who would be “pierced for our transgressions” and by whose wounds we would be healed (Matthew 11:3; Isaiah 53:5). 

Because we want to honor the meaning of Christmas, many are finding ways to slow the pace during December, reserving time to focus on what it means that God came to earth to live among us. Our children were little in 1992 when author David Lambert wrote the book Celebrating Christmas As If It Matters. The book encouraged us in our (often stumbling) efforts to think through how we would spent the days of Advent each year as we looked forward to God’s great gift of Jesus at Christmas.

Today’s Inside Out guest is Jill Hardie, who has written a book that could influence how young families today celebrate the weeks before Christmas as much as the David Lambert book influenced us. In fact, Jill’s book may even help begin a Christmas tradition for some. Jill has collaborated with illustrator Christine Kornacki on a picture book titled The Sparkle Box. It’s the story of a boy named Sam and his family who, in the weeks before Christmas, serve others. Some are people they meet, and some are people too far away for them ever to meet. Sam’s parents quietly write down these acts of service and store the written notes in a silver box. When Sam is allowed to open the box on Christmas day, he learns that each time he has helped to give food, clothing, and even clean water to people God dearly loves, he has actually given a gift to Jesus. This Sparkle Box is the family’s birthday present to Jesus.

Click on the “Listen” button above to hear Jill talk about The Sparkle Box and how the story springs from a Christmas tradition in the Hardie household.

Click here to learn more about the book, which comes with a sparkling silver box to help families to begin their own tradition of giving gifts of service to Jesus for His birthday at Christmas. http://www.thesparklebox.com/author.aspx

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Inside Out airs Wednesdays at 12:20pm EST during the Family Life Noon Report.

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