The Island of Misfit Toys

Christmas is coming! 

The closet is full of presents yet to be wrapped, and procrastination is not on the list. 

When I do start crossing things off my list, the sense of accomplishment motivates me to do more.  While it may not seem like a priority that directly relates to preparing for the holidays, there is one thing on the list of “things to do” that might just change your perspective.

Clean out the toy box. Or the closet. Or the pantry.

I know you’re busy, but maybe–just maybe–you can donate those unused and unloved items to a charity and make someone else’s Christmas a little more joyful.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a beloved classic Christmas movie in America.  In the movie, Rudolf is trying to return home when he finds himself on the Island of Misfit Toys.  This was not a tropical island of hula skirts and surf boards, but a home for toys that were tossed aside, broken, and unloved.

In our travels to Third-World countries it was not uncommon to see children grasping tightly the one toy they own–usually broken–as though it was their best friend in the whole world.  These little trinkets were their most valuable possession.

My, how your perspective changes when you step outside of your comfort zone!

This is a time for joy and good cheer and reflection, and I can’t help but be reminded of those who are feeling alone or unloved this season:

The homeless.

The prisoner.

The single parent–or just single.

The widow/widower.

The orphan.

The missionary.

The serviceman/women serving our country, far from home–

–or their families at home without them.

Lest you think that there is nothing you can do, and reading this list just makes you uncomfortable, think again.

No really, think again.

Think of just one–maybe two on the list and reach out.  They may not be on a deserted island physically–but emotionally or spiritually they can sure feel like they are.

You could give them a gift this Christmas.

It doesn’t have to be big, or even cost you money.  Just time.  Or inconvenience.  Being kind to one less fortunate is scriptural, you know. And for some of us, it takes effort. We might even have to write it down on our list, or even shuffle around some of our priorities.

But it’s always worth it.

The results are in God’s hands–but obedience, well, that’s up to you.  Do whatever it is that He’s prompting you to do, and you will honor Him in a big way on His Birthday.

He said to him, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.  Matthew 22: 37-39

Give away those unloved toys and then get started on a very different gift list:

Ways I Can Bless Others:

  • take a meal to a shut-in
  • visit someone in the nursing home/or elderly neighbor
  • donate toys/money to a Children’s Hospital
  • assemble cold weather gift bags for the homeless
  • send a Christmas card or letter to someone serving overseas
  • do the same for someone in prison
  • offer to babysit for that single parent
  • send a letter/email the missionary family letting them know you are praying for them

You get it.  It’s your list–one that will change up your day a little bit, and will quite possibly make someone else’s day.


Christmas is only days away, so why not spend a little time being grateful for what you have, then look for ways to make a difference in the life of someone else?

What a great gift to give the One who set the example for us!

“On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.”  Matthew 20: 26-28

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