What is the most important thing you can do this Christmas?
There’s a long list to consider, to be sure. Let’s bracket off honoring the birth of Christ by attending a church service celebrating the event, as it is such a given. What else is there to consider?
For many years, I’ve felt that the single-most important act of the holidays is to give to Christ at Christmas.
Since 1994, all of us at Mecklenburg Community Church (Meck) have attempted to honor the gift God gave us in the Christ child through our annual Giving to Christ at Christmas offering. The idea is simple: we give gifts at Christmas in celebration and honor of the birthday of Jesus, so we should begin our gift-giving with Him.
For me, it all began with a simple editorial cartoon I saw while in seminary that is now reprinted every Christmas Eve in the Louisville Courier-Journal newspaper. Or at least, it used to be annually (I hope it still is).
That's what Giving to Christ at Christmas is all about. Every Christmas, the folks at Meck give the most generous, one-time cash gift they can - above and beyond their normal giving - as a direct gift to Christ Himself at Christmas. The money is then used strategically for the extension of His mission on Earth.
Over the years, through Giving to Christ at Christmas, we have rebuilt orphanages, supplied relief to hurricane survivors in North & Central America, provided safe houses for sex-trafficked kids, and helped the poor and needy in our city. Giving to Christ at Christmas has also been used to give ongoing, strategic support to the building, development and payment of our campus, freeing-up our annual budget to serve the daily needs of ministry and outreach to thousands of families in our community.
Every year we pray a fresh request to God for leadership and discernment as to where this offering should be invested. This year, it’s all about “letting the children come.” We’ve been deeply touched by the heart of Jesus for children. So this year, we are doing all we can to ensure that children both in Charlotte and around the world (through our mission partners), are served.
So once again this Christmas, I’ll do all I can to encourage people to give to Christ. That means I want to encourage you, too, to do the same through whatever local church of which you are a part. I know that you are bombarded with requests to give to a number of causes over the holiday season. Many might be worthy, but most will not represent truly giving to Christ.
And that's what Christmas is all about.
James Emery White
About the Author
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated, is available on Amazon. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.