Serving Christ at Christmastime
December 1, 2001 - "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."
—Luke 2:10, KJV
by Simon Gonzalez
Christmas is all about giving. More than 2,000 years ago God set the supreme example by giving us the greatest Gift of all: His only Son. This year more than 20,000 people will practice the true spirit of Christmas to help children on the other side of the world, children whom they will never see. They will make time to process Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes, even in the midst of their own Christmas preparations and their families and jobs.
Why do they do it? The following heart-thoughts of volunteers tell why they choose this way to serve Christ at Christmastime.
"It puts the focus back on what the season is all about. It's about Jesus. It's about caring for others. I like the way Franklin Graham puts it: each shoe box represents a child. When I process the boxes, I think, 'I am helping the child who will receive this box.' And I pray that the right box will go to the right child" (Terri Moore, of St. Louis, Missouri).
"An out-of-town volunteer came to work here, and I thanked him for the financial sacrifices that he had made. He commented, 'I am serving God. Could I ever repay Him for what He has done for me?' That just sums it up perfectly" (A worker at the processing center in Atlanta, Georgia).
"Christmas means rejoicing in the birth of Jesus Christ. It also means offering the love of Jesus Christ to children all over the world who have not heard of Him. Working with Operation Christmas Child means a lot to me because I know that children will be happy when they receive a shoe-box gift—that's important. They also will hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ—that's more important" (Marjorie E. Kalkstine, of Grand Rapids, Michigan).
Too often, for many of us, Christmas becomes a time of receiving, or of giving trinkets to people who already own more than they could ever use. At this Christmas season, let's seek wisdom from God and look for ways to help people who struggle to obtain even life's basic necessities. Let's demonstrate the love of the Lord Jesus Christ: "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."*
Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse, the international Christian relief and evangelism agency headed by Franklin Graham. Each year millions of shoe boxes are filled with toys, candy, school supplies, hygiene items and other gifts. The boxes go to a processing center to ensure that all of the presents are appropriate for the children, and if necessary, to add more presents. Before the boxes are delivered to hurting children around the world, Gospel literature is added to the boxes. Wherever shoe-box gifts are distributed, children hear the message of God's greatest Gift—His Son, Jesus Christ.