Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sparkles All Around

Disclaimer: these are my opinions; I bought the book and decided to review it sans solicitation.

In the Chicago area, it would be hard to miss the buzz around a new book, The Sparkle Box, by Jill Hardie. Christian radio personalities are talking about it. The book is at Christian book stores. I wanted to know what it was all about, so we bought the book for our family.

Essentially, the sparkle box is a special box which we fill with ways of bringing Jesus honor and joy. It's our birthday present to Jesus, on his birthday, Christmas. Yes, yes, grace alone saves, but we respond to God's good gift in Jesus with our lives. Children need tangible ways of relating to Jesus and others, and extending the meaning of Christmas beyond a gift-giving and gift-getting frenzy. So, write on a slip of paper how you'll bring Jesus honor and joy this year or in the next year, and place it in the sparkle box.

From the book's website, with gift ideas:
"On Christmas morning, before any other gifts are unwrapped, take a moment to open Jesus' gift and bask in the warm glow you are sure to feel when you celebrate Jesus' miraculous birth, and honor Him in the present with a gift that will bring Him joy

Jill and her husband, Tim, like to say a simple prayer and have each person in the family take a turn reading their gift to Jesus.
Dear Jesus, thank You for coming to be a light to our world. These gifts are for You, in honor of Your Birthday. For You taught us, whatever we do for those in need, we do for You... (proceed with reading your gifts)."
What has our family placed in Jesus' sparkle box in the past week?
Slips of paper with these messages:
  • Crib sheets and baby wash for families in need at CareNet, Dupage, IL
  • Money to help moms and surprise babies at Hidden Choices
  • A story shared with your brother, with laughs and smiles

The book itself is very good, especially for kids under age 10. My favorite aspect of The Sparkle Box, is that the concept is great for all ages. Every Christian needs a reminder of God's greatest gift, Jesus, and that he can be honored by our giving to others. All ages!

Our family decided to share the message with our children's grandparents by making them sparkle boxes to place under their trees. The book, The Sparkle Box, comes with a box flat folded in back; but we made these so that there would be a sparkle box at each house where our children celebrate Jesus' birthday. And some of our relatives have only recently believed in Jesus, so this is a good way (via the kids growing in faith) to refocus on Jesus after years of Santa and snowmen.

Jewelry box and cocoa tin, decorated!
Materials
2 boxes:
-- Large silver jewelry gift box
-- Small silver, washed Archer Farms cocoa tin (both from around the house)
8.5x11" Self-adhesive glitter paper ($1.19 from the craft store)
1/2"W x 9'L wired gold ribbon, wire will help the bow regain a nice shape after being in storage ($1 from the craft store)
Hot glue gun (because it hardens easily and quickly, and cleans up well)

1) Trace the lid of your box onto the back of the glitter paper. Cut out.
2) If you have extra paper, consider wrapping it around the sides of the box.
3) Tie any bow that suits you. One bow tutorial here.
4) Make sure your bow has tails long enough to wrap up under the lid sides.
5) Secure bow in the middle of the box with hot glue dot. Wrap tails under the lid sides and secure with hot glue dot.
6) Encourage your kids to share The Sparkle Box story and their gift(s) to Jesus with their grandparents, and gift that sparkly box!

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