Love in empty boxes

How does an empty box show God's love?

The past three months have been exceptionally busy for me -- busier than I like to be. As editor of the World Citizens for Peace newsletter, PeaceMeal, there has been so much to read since September 11 in order to keep up on the relevant issues of the day.

I felt relieved two weekends ago when I finished putting together the latest issue of PeaceMeal. That allowed me to fall right into the busyness of preparations for Christmas.

For me, gift shopping is a chore. I like to give presents, and I don't mind buying them, but I don't enjoy shopping.

And then there's shipping. Gifts for family and friends out-of-town require boxes for shipping. I needed two -- a small one and a large one.

Saturday night I stopped at the store to pick up a few groceries. I also checked the stockroom in back for empty boxes. There were no boxes, but there were pallets stacked high with boxes of merchandise waiting to be shelved. I figured I'd be able to get what I needed the next morning.

Sunday morning after Mass, I stopped back at the store and checked the stockroom. The pallets were empty and there wasn't a box in sight. The merchandise had already been shelved and all the boxes crushed.

I was crushed, too -- disappointed that I would have to spend precious time looking for the boxes I needed.

On Monday at school where I work, I did my daily check of the mail room in the main office area. The door to a storeroom was open, and just inside were several empty boxes. There were two the exact size of the large box I needed. I was able to take one.

The next morning when I arrived at school, I went to the drinking fountain before going to my classroom. Passing the office of one of the counselors, I spotted the small box I needed on the floor outside the door -- put there for the custodian to dispose of. As soon as I saw it I said, "Thank you, Lord!"

For me this week, God's love came in empty boxes.

~ Jim Stoffels
14 December 2001

Copyright 2001 by Jim Stoffels