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What Makes Gratitude Overflow?

charity christmas gifts This past July, I had the honor of traveling to Guatemala to meet the little girl I sponsor there. Bilha was an impossibly adorable 6-year-old with braided pigtails, an infectious smile, and the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen.

From the moment I met Bilha, her mother and grandmother, they felt like part of my family. So much so that when I left, the four of us stood in a tight little knot and sobbed.

I had just met my “family” and it was painful to leave so quickly!

That afternoon, at the end of a sweaty soccer game and lots of popcorn and soda, I sat with Bilha and her family on the grass and gave them gifts.

In a duffle bag there were sheets, towels and cooking utensils for the family.

And into a small purple backpack I had stuffed crayons, construction paper, toothbrushes, soap, clothes, bubbles and a Dora the Explorer doll that Bilha held tightly for the rest of the afternoon.

There is something about giving a gift to a child who rarely receives gifts. Most families in developing countries don’t have the extra funds to buy gifts like bubbles and Dora dolls.

Parents must spend their hard-earned money on food and clothes instead.

When I handed Bilha and her family these small gifts on that afternoon, it was as though I had bought them an entire store. They cried over each item I pulled out, even over some wooden spoons I got from the dollar bin at Target.

And I cried along with them. It was an honor to be able to bring them these few gifts — and I knew that this would probably be the only time I could lug a duffel bag through Guatemala to present to this precious family.

I was thinking of Bilha and her family while I worked on helping put together this year’s Compassion Christmas Gift Catalog [3].

On each page there were gifts that I knew would bring the same kind of joy to other families this ministry serves. I can send Bilha and her family gifts as her sponsor, but there were dozens of other gifts I can give to children I will never meet.

I can only imagine their reactions.

Will the family who receives livestock [4] smile as they tug on the ropes tied to their goats and cows?

Will the mother whose malnourished child is provided with food [5] cry tears of joy?

Will the injured child who receives surgery [6] whisper a thank you as her body is healed?

Will the father who can finally provide safe water [7] for his family bend his head in gratefulness?

Based on my sweet Bilha and her family, I know the gratitude will overflow. I won’t see it, but the Father will. And He will rejoice in their praise.