Ever since I can remember, I have loved Christmas – Christmas Eve worship, our family Christmas tree, displaying our Nativity collection, the smiles and giggles of children, the music, It’s a Wonderful Life, the food, the parties and in recent years the reindeer nose and antlers on the pickup truck. Yes, I love it all! But, when I was a child, I must confess nothing captured my imagination more than Santa Clause. Regardless of where we were as a family on Christmas Eve; at home, visiting grandparents or spending Christmas in the woods at our hunting camp, Santa always knew how to find us. The older I got the more amazed I became that two adults, three rambunctious boys, a cocker spaniel and all of Santa’s gifts could fit inside a station wagon and we boys never knew mom and dad were transporting Santa’s loot. Once I became a parent, this “less than simple feat” became nothing short of miraculous.
As I have grown older (turning 52 this very month!) my “Christmas heart” focuses more on the wonder of the Incarnation, the worship of Christ, the opportunity to spend cherished moments with adult children and aging parents, and missions. Now, I could write volumes about each focus of my “Christmas heart” but since Cross the Culture is a blog about missions let me focus there for a moment.
During my lifetime, in my denomination, Christmas has always been synonymous with the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. This offering is one of the primary ways we Southern Baptists support our global missions force. Over 4,900 missionaries and their families are counting on the provision of God, through the generosity of Southern Baptists, to provide for their ministry support. This year Southern Baptists are attempting to give $175 million dollars to this offering and I pray we Southern Baptists will rise to the challenge. In this world in which we live 1.7 billion people have never even heard the name of Jesus. Surely Southern Baptists can give sacrificially to drastically reduce this number in the months ahead. My wife and I gave our offering through our local church on December 4th.
While the Lottie Moon Offering is a Southern Baptist way to support global missions it is certainly not the only way. There’s Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse. Shoeboxes filled with gifts, transported all over the world, touch millions of children with the message of the Gospel. You can also purchase specific items (goats, chickens, milk, honeybees, shoes, etc.) through their Christmas gift catalogue to be used in sharing the Gospel and addressing human suffering around the globe. Check out Samaritan’s Purse at www.samaritanspurse.org.
Whether you choose to give through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, Samaritan’s Purse, both or another Christian organization, the message of this blog post is GIVE! Take a sacrificial measure of all that God has blessed you with financially and reinvest in His Kingdom this Christmas. Remember, Christmas is missions!!
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17