Holiday Focus

Since Christmas is Jesus’ birthday, I desired to provide a realistic way for our people to give a gift to Jesus. Jesus said, “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40); therefore, giving to those in need is truly a gift to Jesus Himself. Last year, beginning on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (November 14), I encouraged our people to pray for the persecuted and to help them in a tangible way. We launched a “Christmas Presents for Jesus” campaign based on Matthew 25:34–40. During the month of December, we collected an offering to buy religious books for believers in China. At the end of the month, we sent the money to a missionary in Taiwan who makes frequent trips into China.

In keeping with the festivities of the season, we placed an undecorated Christmas tree in the church vestibule. Beneath the tree were envelopes. Each envelope contained a paper snowflake made by a child in our church. When an adult or a child wanted to give a Christmas gift, that person took an envelope, wrote his or her name on the snowflake, and hung it on the tree. Then that person put his or her money in the designated envelope and dropped it in the offering plate during any service. Many people don’t feel they have extra money in December, so I encouraged our people to sacrifice one of their Christmas presents in order to give a gift to Jesus. The campaign was a success—many of our people participated, the tree was covered by the end of December, and we raised a very generous gift for our Chinese brethren.

Wayne Cooper, Pastor
Lowman Baptist Church
Pine Grove, West Virginia