This Christmas we at the Sumner United Methodist Church will help make a Christmas miracle happen! Rather than buying into the American culture and lavishing gifts upon one another this Christmas, we're promoting something really countercultural and lavishing gifts upon the One whose birthday we celebrate.
Jesus told us that when we feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, clothe the naked, and care for those who are afflicted, it is as if we are doing it for Him. We will be showing our love for Jesus through our Christmas Miracle Offering.
The Christmas Miracle Offering works like this. For every dollar a person spend purchasing gifts for family, friends, co-workers or others, they give a dollar to Jesus. The money we receive will further the work of Phakamisa (a Zulu word meaning to uplift.), a ministry that cares for 5,000 orphans and 10,000 other children in South Africa. On Sunday, December 24, Christmas Eve, we will witness a mighty work of God as we receive the Christmas Miracle Offering during our morning worship.
Many of our members were touched when a few weeks ago Julie and I shared the story of a little girl named Khanya, aged 7, who arrived at school wearing adult clothing. Thinking it was some kind of silly joke, her teacher sent her home to change. She came back wrapped in newspaper, for she had no other clothes to wear. Thanks to the ministry of Phakamisa, Khanya now has clothes that fit. There are thousands of little girls and boys who are in desperate need of the basic necessities of life. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can make a miracle happen for them.
Now certainly, being a part of this Christmas miracle will require that most of us change our Christmas spending habits. But think about it, how badly do the people on your Christmas list need more stuff? Why not help them remember the real meaning of Christmas by honoring Jesus with your gift?
One of the ways Julie and I are making sure we fulfill our commitment to the Christmas Miracle Offering is by writing a check to the church in an amount equal to what we spent when we arrive home from Christmas shopping. The reality for us, and I think most people, is that it’s easier to write several checks for smaller amounts than it is to write one big one. Plus by doing this, it will be an ongoing reminder of what we believe is important. It’s easy to get sucked into the consumeristic mindset of our culture. When we’re trying to do some so countercultural and break out of old ways of thinking and acting, we have to use tactics which are maybe unconventional.
That one way we will be remembering whose birthday it is. What will you do to make a Christmas Miracle happen where you are? I'd love to hear your ideas so that we can pass them along to others. Leave a comment that will be an example for others.