It’s a Wonderful Time for Giving

It is now 3 weeks until Christmas.  For those of us who like to prepare well in advance, our shopping is down to those last few hard-to-buy-for loved ones.  Procrastinators still have 20 shopping days left and some have 18 or 19 days until they begin shopping.

Whether you have been done with your shopping for weeks or haven’t begun, there is still time for you to think of others who are less fortunate.  It isn’t too late to put some money in the Salvation Army kettle or buy a gift for a needy child.

In case you haven’t decide which worthy charity to support this year, I am offering up a few of my favorites.

Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child–The ministry founded by Franklin Graham has provided shoe box gifts to 157 million children in impoverished countries for 25 years.  It’s too late to drop off a box at a collection point, but there is still time to build a shoe box online.   For a $25 donation, you can select items for a boy or girl.   You pick the age range and are lead through the process of picking a Wow item, 2 small toys, and 3 accessories.  Essential items, including toothbrush, comb, crayons, colored pencils, and a notebook, are added to each box.   https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/

Prison Fellowship Angel Tree Ministry–Donations to this ministry provide gifts to children who have an incarcerated parent.  2.7 million children in American have a parent in prison. Prison Fellowship provides gifts to more than 10 percent of those children using donations collected.  To learn more about this ministry and/or make a donation, go to https://www.prisonfellowship.org/about/angel-tree/.

Toys for Tots–The Toys for Tots toys collection drive sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps since 1947 has another week or so left in their toy campaign to provide toys to less fortunate children.  You can drop off a new toy at a collection bin and the toy will be given to a child in your area.  Or you can make a cash donation.  97% of donations go to provide toys and 3% is used for fundraising expenses.  To find your nearest collection site, go to https://www.toysfortots.org/donate/toys.aspx

These are just a few of the many organizations that are devoted to helping children in your community and around the world have a very Merry Christmas.

“The Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Acts 20:35.

May your family be blessed as you share His blessings with others this Christmas Season.

Getting in the Christmas Spirit with Samaritan’s Purse

Christmas is six weeks away, but it’s not too early to start getting in the Christmas spirit by blessing others.  Like many churches around the country, my church is participating in Operation Shoebox, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse.The girls in our Girls Ministries program filled shoeboxes with gifts to be given to a boy or girl in a foreign country.  For many of these children, it will be the first Christmas gift they have ever received.  Each of our seven classes filled one or two shoeboxes.  A few of them are depicted below.

Shoeboxes to be sent to Samaritan’s Purse to distribute to children worldwide.

There is still time for you to participate in this important ministry.  You can use your own shoebox or pick up a decorated box at your local Christian bookstore or Chick fil A restaurant.  If you use your own, please wrap it in Christmas paper.  Fill the box with some toys, personal hygiene products, school and art supplies, hard candies, or other small gifts.  Use your imagination and ask God to give your ideas for your box.

When the box is ready, put a rubber band around it and indicate if it is for a boy or girl and the appropriate age range.  Drop off the box at a local collection point.  Go to http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/Drop_Off_Locations/ to find the drop off location nearest you.  For more information on the ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, go to www.samaritanspurse.com

Box collection started today and goes through next Monday, November 19.  It’s not too late, but time is running out.  If you are able to participate, you will bless a child and share with them the true spirit of Christ. And in doing so, you will be blessed in return.   

Acts 20:35, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”