Monday, November 18, 2013

What’s Inside the Sparkle Box?

The Sparkle Box is “a gift with the power to change Christmas.”  Every year, we buy gifts, we give gifts and we receive gifts for Christmas.  Sometimes we spend a lot of thought about the gifts we purchase, and sometimes we buy a quick gift that we haven’t put much thought into.  Most of these gifts don’t make a real difference in the world.  They might make a loved one feel happy for a few minutes or warm for a while, but they don’t usually mean the difference between starvation and survival or the difference between warm fingers/toes/ears and frostbite.  

The Sparkle Box is an amazing story about a family who has a “sparkly gift box” on their mantle in the weeks before Christmas.  This family has a little boy, named Sam, who is really excited about Christmas... and very curious about the Sparkle Box.  Sam’s mom tells him they need to put some things in the sparkle box before they can open it on Christmas morning.  Throughout the book, Sam and his family go Christmas shopping and drop food and clothing off at a homeless shelter.  They purchase gloves for the Christmas Mitten Tree, where they could purchase hats, gloves and scarves for those in need.  Their family also participates in purchasing a well for a village in Africa.  Along the way, Sam’s mom is able to teach him a little bit about homelessness and those in need and how blessed Sam is to have what he has.

Christmas morning arrives and Sam runs down to the living room and sees the tree all aglow, and under the tree he sees a bright red train that he had liked in the store window... then, he sees the Sparkle Box.  When it is time to open the Sparkle Box, they sit down as a family and remove the lid.  Inside are little strips of paper... each one says something different: “bought mittens for the homeless,” “provided a meal to someone in need,” “purchased a well for village in Africa.”  Sam’s parents explain that The Sparkle Box is their family’s gift to Jesus on his birthday.  Sam is confused... they didn’t do any of these things to Jesus.  In this very teachable moment, Sam’s mom explains that no gift could make Jesus happier-- whatever we do for people in need, we do for Him.  

When I received The Sparkle Box, I set it aside until I could read it to my 7 year old daughter.  When the time came, we snuggled up in my big comfy chair and read The Sparkle Box together.  It was the first time I read the book and I couldn’t help the tears that pooled in my eyes.  You see, I live in an area that has a HIGH population of homeless people.  I actually volunteer locally to work with them at a place where they can get a shower and wash their clothes for free.  So, The Sparkle Box became special to me instantly!  As we read, my daughter was able to learn a little more about homelessness and those that are less fortunate than our family.  By the end of the book, she was so excited to put together our own Sparkle Box and start filling it with gifts for Jesus.  That made this momma proud and cry some happy tears.  

The Sparkle Box book we received for this review came with it’s own little Sparkle Box in the back of the book.  This would be great for parents and/or grandparents to share with the children in their lives.  It’s a great way to introduce a legacy that you will be proud to pass on from generation to generation.  It’s a great gift book as well.  The pictures are beautiful, the story is gripping and the end result is amazing and God-honoring!! 

Check it out here: The Sparkle Box




As a side note, I took The Sparkle box to our Wednesday evening Acteens group (a teen girl mission-focused group).  These girls are ages 11-17 and they, as well as the group leader, were enraptured by the story of The Sparkle Box.  These girls have actually been making fleece blankets for the homeless in our area.  Just a few weeks ago, we made 4 blankets that were given to a family known to be living in their car.... a family of 3 little boys, a mom and a dad.  We cannot even fathom living in our car, but these girls worked their fingers to a frazzle getting the blankets finished in a timely fashion so the family could have the blankets before it got cold.  

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