December 18, 2022
And the Word became flesh and lived among us … (John 1:14)
When we gather with friends and family at Christmas, we celebrate the many gifts that we have both given and received. Looking toward the Star of Bethlehem, we give thanks for the blessings of the past year and anticipate a future filled with hope and possibility. We live in hope that the Christmas gift we offer is exactly what that special person has been hoping for. Yet for those of us celebrating Advent’s expectation, we know that the only perfect gift ever given is the one we receive in Jesus Christ.
When Jesus was born among us, he came as a helpless baby destined to bring joy, peace and salvation to his people. This child, God’s Word made flesh — fully human and fully God — became one of us. One with us. One among us. In all of our vulnerabilities, struggles and triumphs, Jesus became one of us — leading us, knowing us, connecting us to himself and to each other, and offering us his gift of eternal life.
The perfect gift.
Through the Christmas Joy Offering, we reflect God’s perfect gift to us, with generous support of church leaders among us — past, present and future — who have pointed us to God.
We honor and celebrate leaders like retired pastors, church workers and their families who have faithfully guided and led us but who now find themselves in critical financial need because of changing health situations or emergency circumstances. Our gifts restore hope and stability through the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions.
We honor and celebrate emerging leaders like students in schools and colleges equipping communities of color, who develop leadership skills as they pursue their education and prepare to bring their gifts in service to the world God loves so much. Our gifts support a bright future with enhanced opportunities for students to grow and build lives of faith, honing talents and skills to serve God, the Church and the world for years to come.
Jesus’ example as a child born to be among us and lead us to eternal life provides a pattern for us to follow as we celebrate those who have led us in the past and will lead us into the future. Through the Christmas Joy Offering, we come together to support past, present and future leaders, embodying God’s perfect gift to us, Jesus Christ.
Thank you for your generous gifts — for when we all do a little, it adds up to a lot.
— Special Offerings staff
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 18, 2022, the Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year A)
Today’s Focus: Christmas Joy Offering
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Karl Mattison, VP of Planning Giving Resources, Presbyterian Foundation
Jessica Maudlin, Mission Associate II, Sustainable Living & Earth Care Concerns, Presbyterian Hunger Program, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Let us pray
O Holy Child of Bethlehem, be born in us, live in us, live among us, and lead us to where we may know you as the Word made flesh and The Perfect Gift. Amen.