Scattering Seeds of Peace and Hope
As the daughter of a single mom, I was right in the middle of my mom’s struggle to provide my sister and I a place to live with working utilities – some that were still occasionally turned off – and food to eat. Birthdays and Christmas, times when gifts are usually given, were very simple. I used to wonder why we never really celebrated birthdays; looking back I know that a big part of that was the lack of funds.
At Christmas-time my mom would go down to the local tree stand and pick out one of the shortest trees (which was sometimes just given to her) and she would set it up on our coffee table. Then we would make homemade Christmas decorations to put on it. Gifts were usually small and few, but I know Mom did all she could just to give those – never receiving anything in return. Some years Mom would go to the local Salvation Army, tell them our situation, and they would wonderfully, graciously give her an opportunity to “shop” for our gifts. I never knew or cared. Christmas was just a magical time of year when we watched classic Christmas movies, listened to Christmas music by Brenda Lee, Elvis, Bing, and Frank, got together with all of our family, received new to us gifts, and dreamed big.
Though no Christmas Story from the book of Luke was read in our home, I had a knowledge of Jesus. I was in a few plays at the church my mom grew up in and I saw the nativities around. I knew there was more than Christmas lights, tinsel, stockings, and gifts found under the tree from Santa, but I really enjoyed how pretty it all was and how hopeful it made me feel. I think that is one of God’s sweetest secrets. Even if all we know is White Christmas and Rudolph and Santa Claus, the peace and hope that we feel point to Him, for He is the Prince of Peace and the Hope of the World.
This past Sunday Barry taught out of Mark 4. The chapter begins with the parable of ‘The Farmer and the Seed.’ When I think back to those PEACEful and HOPEful Christmas seasons, I fully believe it was the simple tree with homemade decorations, second-hand gifts from Salvation Army, family time, those few Christmas plays, nativities, and Christmas music and movies that were scattered seeds in my life. God has used all of it to show me how He was active in my life even then – when I didn’t know Him. They all taught me to HOPE, and years later when someone introduced me to Jesus, it was easy to BELIEVE.
What’s Been Going On With The BIG Event
This year’s Big Event theme has been WONDERFUL…MARVELOUS…THE BIG EVENT! Your children walked through the life of Jesus during the first three months, and they will finish up by hearing and receiving The Great Commission, which goes along with their Memory Verse: “I will give thanks and praise the Lord, with all my heart; I will tell aloud all Your wonders and marvelous deeds.” (Psalm 9:1) It has been such a fun and exciting experience to watch your kids act out the lessons, connect over yummy snacks, have fun playing games, and ENJOY worshiping and dancing alongside each other!
During our Big Events, your children have had the opportunity to bring in items for Operation Christmas Child, a ministry through Samaritan’s Purse. They have done an AMAZING job! I have a HUGE stack of items in our Kids’ Building! At our last Big Event, we will be packing shoeboxes with all of the donated items. So, in the two weeks before November 10, we would 1) love for kids to still bring in items and/or 2) bring in donations to help cover the cost of mailing the shoeboxes. Samaritan’s Purse suggests a donation of $9 per box, but any amount will help! If we receive more donations than the number of boxes we are mailing out, the extra will still go to Operation Christmas Child as not all who send in boxes are able to send in the $9. We will be collecting items in baskets in the Kids’ Building the next two Sundays. If you would like to make a donation you can either A) write out an amount to Samaritan’s Purse with Operation Christmas Child in the memo and hand it to Anastasia Stephan or B) write out an amount to Meridian Point Church with Operation Christmas Child in the memo.
As your children wrap up this series of Big Events by packing simple shoeboxes for kids who may not receive any other Christmas gifts, they are taking some of their first steps in The Great Commission – they are scattering seed! They are giving some child HOPE, just like I was given all those years ago by the generosity of others. They may not know it, the kids receiving these boxes may not realize it, but Jesus, Who makes all things new and is able to produce a HUGE HARVEST in each and every life, knows. I personally look forward to watching each pair of little hands place items in these boxes, knowing that they are being the very hands of Christ.
“I will give thanks and praise the Lord, with all my heart; I will tell aloud all Your wonders and marvelous deeds.” (Psalm 9:1)
(Below is a video about Operation Christmas Child that you can watch with your kiddos.)