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 watching or attending a church service or experience to celebrate the event, as this should be 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, those who attend Mecklenburg Community Church (Meck) have made it our mission to honor the gift God gave us in the birth of Jesus by beginning our gift giving at Christmas with Him. This simple idea has become known as our annual “Giving to Christ at Christmas” effort.
The idea was sparked for me when I saw this cartoon during the busyness of the holiday season and thought, “Wow… that’s what giving to Christ at Christmas really is all about.” Since that day, Meck comes together as a church to give the most generous gift we can – above and beyond our normal giving – as a direct gift to Christ Himself at Christmas to celebrate His birthday. The money is then used strategically for the work of His mission on Earth.
Over the years, the gifts given through Giving to Christ at Christmas have allowed Meck to help rebuild orphanages, supply relief to hurricane survivors in North and Central America, provide safe houses for girls rescued from human trafficking, and help the poor and needy in our city. It has provided 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 turn to God for leadership and discernment as to where this gift should be invested.
So once again this Christmas, I’ll do all I can to encourage people to give to Christ. That means I also want to encourage you to do the same through whatever local church you are a part of. 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
*Editor’s Note: This blog was first published in 2016 and is updated and reposted annually during the Christmas season.
About the Author
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunct professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His newest book, Christianity for People Who Aren’t Christians: Uncommon Answers to Common Questions, is now available on Amazon or at your favorite bookseller. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & 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, Facebook and Instagram @JamesEmeryWhite.