Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, the giver of every good and perfect gift.
In this week, we will give thanks to God for the blessings that have been poured into our lives and then we will turn and begin the new liturgical year on Sunday, as Advent begins. In these four weeks, we prepare for the coming of Christ. We prepare to receive God’s great and generous gift of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. And we honor the Christ Child’s coming by being generous to others in our world.
I invite you to remember two very unique and wonderful opportunities this Advent in the North Carolina Conference. The first is our joining together in generosity toward the vision of no more malaria. We envision a time when, no longer, children and adults, will become infected through mosquito bites and die of malaria in Africa. We imagine no more malaria and every church in the North Carolina Conference is urged to take a Christmas Eve offering and in other ways during Advent and the Christmas season to honor Christ through generosity to imagine no malaria. We have a $100,000 yet to raised toward our $1 million goal and by participating together during Advent, we will reach it and joyously honor the Christ Child as Jesus comes to us on December 25.
I invite you also to observe #GivingTuesday, December 1. #GivingTuesday has been created to invite people of faith to consider gifting those they love and whom they wish to honor at Christmas through the giving of gifts that mission out into the world. After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday is a refreshing pointing to a wonderful way of living into this holy season. #GivingTuesday in the United Methodist Church through the Advance reached $6.5 million in 2013. In 2014, $2.5 million was raised.
There is a heart in our church for giving in this holy season in ways that make life gentler, better, and stronger for people around the world. Choose any project of the Advance. Your Imagine No Malaria gifts on this day will be important as well and for those who give early, there’s always the opportunity to be gifted with a match to the missionary or the Advance project of your choosing. There is a $1 million offered through the General Board of Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief for the first gifts that are given.
In this holy season, may we honor the Christ Child by giving as a response to God’s great gift.