Today in the Mission Yearbook

Minute for Mission: Christmas Joy Offering

 

December 23, 2018

Rev. Ralph Hamburger and his wife, Mary, married 65 years, were able to stay together in a skilled-nursing unit due to declining health with help from the Christmas Joy Offering. Rev. Hamburger states, “It’s wonderful that the church does not forget those who worked in Presbyterian ministries at home and abroad.”

In the lead-up to Christmas, many of us spend time in search of the perfect gift — the gift that communicates to friends and family how much we know and love them. We search our memories for indications of what gift might cause the faces of our loved ones to light up on Christmas morning. We scour the stores and shops, hoping to come across the thing that will communicate a depth that our words cannot.

For those of us gathered together in Advent expectation, we know that the only perfect gift ever given was the one we received in Jesus Christ ­— a perfect gift from a gracious God. Although we cannot truly give the perfect gift, we can give generously, knowing, as the New Testament letter of James says, “every generous act of giving … is from above.” And, as important as gifts to loved ones are, the Church rejoices and gives in special ways, drawing us back, again and again, to a manger scene with bowed shepherds and joyous angels, and the truth of God’s perfect gift to us.

Jesus came to lead God’s people, pointing to God through love and justice, peace and compassion, forgiveness and humility. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) reflects God’s gift to us, through the Christmas Joy Offering, with generous gifts supporting church leaders among us, retired, present and future, who have pointed us to God. For church workers in need of financial help, whether due to declining health or a catastrophic event, such as Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Christmas Joy provides for those needs through the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions.

It also supports new leaders called by God for our Church and world through leadership development programs for people of color and education at Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping communities of color. The generosity of Presbyterians means a brighter future and enhanced opportunities to use their talents and skills to serve God, the Church and the world for years to come.

We can never match God’s perfect gift in Jesus, but through the Christmas Joy Offering, we can testify to whom we have known God to be. Our perfect gift comes from above. Our gifts reflect our generous God. Our gifts support leaders in our Church and world — past, present and future.

Bryce Wiebe, Director, Special Offerings and Appeals

Today’s Focus: Christmas Joy Offering

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Marissa Galvan-Valle, PPC
David Gambrell, PMA

Let us pray:

Loving God, we give thanks for your perfect gift in Jesus Christ. We also thank you for all who have and will faithfully serve your church. May those who lead your Church point us always to you, and to your ways of joy, hope, love and peace. Amen.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 23, 2018, the Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year C)