MTL Christmas - Page 18

GOOD WILL T O WA R D MANKIND by Jill Hardie In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, peace and good will toward man can seem elusive. As we wait in long lines at the stores, pore over our shopping lists and cringe at the credit card bills we’re racking up, we feel a familiar pang: This isn’t what Christmas is about. There is a simple way to center Christmas: give the gift of good will to others. About 11 years ago, we started a new tradition in our family that later became known as The Sparkle Box. The tradition is to leave a gift for Jesus under your Christmas tree that will honor Him on Christmas day, His birthday. What can you give Him? Anything that expresses good will toward mankind. Whatever you do as a gift to Jesus in His name is written on a piece of paper and placed in The Sparkle Box. I’ll never forget the first Christmas morning when we opened our gift for Jesus. Our children were unusually quiet, watching with wide eyes and expectant hearts as the gifts to Jesus were read aloud. We were humbled and awed to present our gifts to Jesus. A goat we sponsored so a family could have milk to drink and cheese to sell. Freedom for an indentured slave. Mittens and hats for those in need. The feeling of love and light that filled our home was overwhelming. As I read the slips of paper that recorded the gifts we had given in Jesus’ name, gratitude for Jesus filled my heart and I could barely read the words through my tears. That day, and every Christmas since, we’ve marveled at the lasting peace and joy we’ve experience through this simple tradition. I have been blessed to share this meaningful tradition through a book I wrote called The Sparkle Box. It’s a picture book for all ages that tells a beautiful story of compassion. Rich illustrations by Christine Kornacki bring the story to life. I have been amazed to see how The Sparkle Box has been used in homes, churches and communities across the nation to help those in need. 18