Missions: Your New Christmas Tradition?
Almost every family has certain Christmas traditions. Every year, I bake the same Danish coffee cake recipe my mother always served on Christmas morning. Our neighbors give their entire family special Christmas pajamas, and another family we know serves lasagna every Christmas Eve.
But what about missions? The heart of Christmas, of course, lies in the good news of the gospel: God sent His only Son into the world that through Him we might be saved. Shouldn’t going and telling have a place in your Christmas traditions? Here are a few ways to emphasize missions alongside the candles and colored lights.
Pray: Praying for missions might be one of the most obvious ways to support missionaries at Christmastime, so make sure it’s not one of the most neglected. Ask missionaries you know for some specific prayer requests (or create a list from a recent prayer letter). The gift of regular prayer on their behalf will matter more than any other.
Give: How can your Christmas giving involve missions? Many churches provide a great start, offering such opportunities as filling Operation Christmas Child® shoeboxes or meeting Angel Tree requests for prisoners’ children. Personalize missions even more by using some of the money you might otherwise spend on presents to sponsor a child through an international relief organization or give to specific mission-related needs. In each situation, little gifts mean a lot.
Go: Get up off your Christmas couch and go (with your family, if possible) on either a local or international mission trip! Several sending organizations offer Christmas-break trips, but you can also find mission projects in your own backyard. Homeless shelters and food banks invite holiday help; or take a meal or some special treats to your local police, fire station or emergency room staff. Or take missions to an even more personal level. Watch for a need (perhaps a single parent who needs extra help at Christmas) and find a caring way to meet it in Christ’s name.
The Christmas gifts we exchange are often forgotten as soon as the wrapping paper hits the recycling bin. This year, ask God to show you how to make missions your newest Christmas tradition, and watch as He uses you to give gifts with real—and lasting—value.
Marti Pieper’s passion to read, write, and pray makes her life an adventure. Her award-winning book Out of the Dust: Story of an Unlikely Missionary tells the powerful story of missionary Avis Goodhart. Connect with Marti on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or at martipieper.com.