During His last few hours with His disciples, Jesus told them that “all men will know you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35). This is one of the marks of a true believer, and it is demonstrated in our lives in innumerable ways. One important way we do this at Grace Church is through Christmas in September—a special time of encouragement and blessing for our missionaries.
Christmas in September began as an effort to send Christmas gifts to the members of our church family who were serving the Lord overseas. We chose September because it would often take months for the gifts to arrive. Some of these difficulties have been eased by advances in communication and transportation, but the challenge of being away from home and family during the holidays remains.
Obeying the Lord always comes with sacrifice. This is part of Jesus’ call to discipleship: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself” (Matthew 16:24). Out of that first great sacrifice of self come many smaller ways in which we submit our desires and goals to the Lord Jesus, whether we are serving Him here in the U.S. or overseas. In exchange, He gives us the greatest gift—the gift of eternal life. “For whoever wishes to save his live will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25). That is what we celebrate at Christmas, and it is the truth we look to share with our missionaries in this special season.
Every Sunday this month, we have an opportunity to bless our missionaries in two different ways. First, you can write them a personal note for Christmas. Using the cards provided at the patio table in front of GraceWalk, select a few individuals or families and write them a short note thanking them and encouraging them in their ministry.
Second, you can give a financial gift along with your personal Christmas card. The funds that you give will be evenly distributed to each of our Grace Church missionary families, to bless them wherever they are. Financial gifts can be dropped off at the patio table along with the cards.
In Hebrews 10, after reviewing the incredible blessings of salvation, the author calls us to “consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds” and to encourage one another more and more as the return of Christ draws closer. As we face trials and challenges in our walk with the Lord, whether small or great, it is essential for us to bear each other’s burdens and urge each other toward greater faith and trust in Him. May this month be a special time of fulfilling that responsibility to our missionaries and lifting them up with our prayers and messages of joyful encouragement.