Christmas … Crazy that it’s just around the corner! It’s a season that is synonymous with the giving and receiving of gifts, one of the many ways we show others how much they mean to us. For the first couple years that my wife Sarah and I were married we were unable to afford gifts for one another at Christmas time; being that we were 2 broke students, the expendable income was not there. So it led us to get creative with our gifts; but even more so, it made us think more about why we gave gifts and more broadly about how we celebrated Christmas.
At its core, Christmas is all about the birth of Christ, the greatest gift that has ever been given, restored relationship with God the Father, and everlasting life through Jesus’ death on the cross. As Christians, we give gifts to follow the example of the 3 wise men who brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh to honour Jesus – the long-awaited Messiah who had been prophesied about for centuries. However, the importance of the gift of Jesus can often get overwhelmed by the cultural practices of Christmas. When you look at the recent history of Christmas and gift-giving, it’s turned into a much more consumer-focused holiday. Stores have gotten so clever in how they reel people in to wanting things they don’t need, going into debt just to buy more “stuff.”
Christmas has become more about shopping the sales and less about honouring one another and remembering the birth of Jesus.
Serving Kids Around the World
Every year the FAC Share Team (Global/Local Outreach and Refugee Ministry) sits down to reflect, pray, and evaluate the previous year and to look at the coming year with a fresh perspective, with hearts that desire to lead our church to join in where we believe Jesus is leading us partner with Him.
For the last decade or so, FAC has had a faithful tradition of looking outside of itself and giving gifts to children in other parts of the world through Samaritan’s Purse’s seasonal campaign, Operation Christmas Child. It’s been a wonderful way that we as a church reached out using the money God has given us to give gifts to children that may not able to return the gesture, and we’re grateful for FAC’s generous shoebox response over the years.
This year, the Share Team felt that our global involvement during the Christmas season was changing as God has been stirring our hearts to intentionally pursue relational ministry in everything that we do. Therefore, it was decided to end our seasonal partnership with Samaritan’s Purse and strengthen our pre-existing partnership with Compassion Canada and their mission of “releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.”
Why Compassion Canada?
We’ve chosen Compassion Canada for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, they focus on holistic child development. This means they provide age-appropriate teaching, formal and non-formal educational opportunities, healthcare and hygiene training, food support, and personal attention. We truly believe that by focusing on the actual child and their livelihood, it will bring the largest impact and transformation to a group of people. We desire to see individuals, families, and communities transformed by Jesus Christ!
Another reason we chose Compassion is because of the way people can be involved. As God invites us into relationship with Him, we also want to be entering into relationship with others. Compassion’s system of sponsoring children is built to encourage a continued relationship between the giver and receiver. This is done through having a picture and knowing the name of the specific child your money is going to. The person sponsoring the child is also able to write letters and receive them back from the child throughout the year. There are opportunities to travel to meet your sponsor child in person, to see where they live, meet their family, and enter into their world. This time of connection is not limited to Christmas – although there’s opportunity to bless the child on holidays and birthdays.
By partnering with children through Compassion, we’re providing an opportunity not just for essential needs to be met. We’re also investing in sponsored children to provide a chance for a full education. Children who are sponsored by Compassion are 27-40% more likely to complete post-secondary education, they are 35% more likely to have a white-collar job, and they are 40-70% more likely to become church leaders. The implications that result from financial contribution and intentional relationship with a child are staggering! These children then have the ability to impact their families and the families living in their community and help to end poverty in their communities.
This Christmas season we invite you to join us as we focus on the gift of Jesus … On how He commands us to live by serving and being involved in the lives of others. The gift of Jesus is not only that He came to earth, but that He came to restore the most profound relationship that we could ever know, the one with our heavenly Father.
We’re excited to deepen our partnership with Compassion Canada and continue to commit to their mission of releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name!
Pastor Carter Reimer is part of FAC’s Share Ministries Team at First Alliance Church, bringing focus to opportunities to make a difference through Local Outreach. Want to know more about how to get involved? December 11/12, 2021 will include a Compassion Canada focus where we’ll hear from a local representative and have the opportunity to partner with a child by investing our time and finances to build relationship in the name of Jesus. Explore more ways how FAC is partnering to make a difference in Calgary and around the world!
You might also be interested in …
- Meeting a practical need for someone right here in Calgary this holiday season through the Christmas Giving Wall (November 13-December 5, 2021)