Day 5: Goodies in the Mailbox

Welcome to the 25 Days of Giving. Each day we’ll focus on a different way you can teach your kids to give to others. If you missed the start of this series, you can find it here. Put the focus on giving instead of getting at Christmas this year because Jesus was a gift to us. Join in the fun by reading each day, then posting in the comments ways that you help your kids give to others at Christmas. Don’t forget to share this series with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

The mail comes to my house and yours six days a week without fail. The weather doesn't matter. From blistering heat to freezing cold, bright, sunny days to hail and snow, someone delivers the mail to my mailbox.

I think being a person who delivers the mail is probably a lot like being a mom in that there are very few people telling you that you're doing a good job. You work hard, you deal with all sorts of obstacles (from cars parked in front of mailboxes to dogs who think you might make a good snack), but you don't encounter a lot of people saying "thank you."

There are a lot of invisible jobs in the world, jobs we only notice when they don't get done. There are people who deliver the mail, people who pick up the trash, people who clean the building where you work or go to church or school, people who make the bed in a hotel and people who clear the restaurant table before you get there. These jobs are a lot of work but don't often receive much recognition.

Our giving advent calendar yesterday directed us to leave a note and some cookies in the mailbox for the person who delivers our mail as a way to recognize one of the people in our lives who does a mostly invisible job. It offered up an opportunity to talk about how we can bless the people who do jobs that help us, but whom we never see.

My brother works at our local children's hospital. He's not a doctor or a nurse. He often doesn't spend much time in the hospital. He's on the grounds crew. He keeps the lawn looking nice, the parking garage clean and the snow off the sidewalks. He works hard. He works long hours. When it snows, he can work 12 hour days. One year, he missed Christmas because he was shoveling snow so people with really sick kids could get in and out of the hospital without falling down. It may seem that his job isn't significant. If you stood him up next to the CEO of a company, you might not think he was very important. But to those families with sick kids, his job lets them worry about one less thing. They don't have to worry if they'll be able to get into the hospital in a snowstorm. In the summer, they're greeted with a hospital that looks like an inviting place because the grass is mowed, the flowers are watered and the parking garage is clean. To those people, my brother may be "invisible" but he's providing an important service.

Jesus spent a lot of time with the "invisible" people of his day. He pulled Zacchaeus out of a tree. He hung out with fishermen. He chose to spend time with the poor and the sick. These were the people who went mostly unnoticed in His day, yet He made it a point to spend time with them.

Look around your world today and point out to your kids the "invisible" jobs that are being done that make your life easier, then choose to bless one of the people who does one of those jobs. It can be a cup of coffee, a $5 gift card to a local fast-food chain, or a plate of cookies left in the mailbox. Let one of those "invisible" people know that you noticed the job they did today.

For more great ideas to keep your kids’ attention focused on Christ in the Christmas season, check out my Everyday Christmas e-book. You’ll find lots of simple to implement ideas to create a Christ-centered Christmas.