A Christmas Offering For Service And Sacrifice?
Christmas is celebrated by Christians as the entry into human history of Christ the Messiah. It was also, of course, the beginning of Christ’s ministry that would end in His complete sacrifice for the atonement of sin and then His resurrection. It is not only His glorious appearance that is the subject of carols and praise, but also His willingness to redeem through sacrifice.
Christmas Eve and Day also happen to be a days of vastly greater attendance in worship services, and in many places of special collections. This year I wonder if some (many?) churches might consider making a beneficiary of those collections the men and women wounded in the service of their country and our freedom?
Wednesday’s show with the many Marines, Army and Navy veterans of the war who are being assisted by the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund evoked a tremendous reaction among many who heard it. The moving stories of recovery from the loss of one or two limbs, brain injury, paralysis or burns –told by the men, their spouses or parents– brought many listeners to tears and prompted contributions to the fund that has assisted so many of them in matters large and small. When a patient is recovering and the family travels to be at his or her side, the expenses mount up quickly. Special wheelchairs that allow, for example, one Marine paralyzed from the waist down to attend culinary school and embark on a new career, or vans and trucks equipped for the wounded areexpensive items but no less necessary for a return to productive civilian life. Sometimes a mom at the side of her son means the loss of half a large family’s income. The needs are real.
Lots of organizations have sprung up to serve the servicemen and women. The SemperFiFund concentrates on Marines, though the Fund has helped many in the other branches. SoldiersAngeles reaches out to all the services. The United Warrior Survivors Foundation cares for the widows of special forces members killed in the war. Fisher House provides for long term housing for families of wounded in long term rehabilitation. There are many others.
I will ask my pastor if the Elders would consider such a destination for our offering this year, and with it some time spent in prayer for these men and women bearing the brunt of the war. Perhaps pastor-bloggers like Mark Daniels, Andy Jackson and MarkDRoberts would mull the idea over on their blogs. Helping those who have sacrificed a great deal for us all seems to me to be a very appropriate way to honor the arrival of Christ in the world.