The night before I wrote this article, our church utilized our mid-week service to fill shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Operation Christmas Child is an effort of Samaritan’s Purse to send a shoe box of “toys, gifts, school supplies, personal care items and the Gospel message” of Christmas to needy children around the world.
As many know, Operation Christmas Child was the brainchild of Rev. Franklin Graham the Founder of Samaritan’s Purse. My wife and I have been regular helpers in this seasonal celebration since its inception. It is always a joy to celebrate this time of year by giving to others, and a blessing to be a part of a church family that feels the same.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation does not share this perspective. A “concerned district community member” informed the FFRF that North Short Elementary School, in the Galena Park Independent School District, Texas, was sponsoring a fundraiser for Operation Christmas Child.
FFRF wasted no time in sending a warning letter to the school district. In a statement FFRF said, “The state/church watchdog has been assured, in a communication from the school system, that the district has been unaware of the school’s participation in the evangelical fundraising and that this will no longer take place.”
This may shock some, but I am not offended by the FFRF’s actions. I am no more offended by the FFRF than I would be if a blind man stepped on my foot, and for the same reason; neither of them can see. One is physically blind and the other is spiritually blind.
God commissioned the Church alone with the Christmas message of joy and hope. No other organization or institution is given the privilege and responsibility of sharing that message. Jesus told the faithful, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” Matthew 28:19-20.
And what does the FFRF offer children in lieu of a shoe box, the empty darkness of disbelief, no toys, gifts, school supplies, personal care items, nor the Gospel message. The FFRF can stop a school district, but it cannot stop the Church.
Hopefully the FFRF will come to realize what the Grinch did, “Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store; maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
Christmas does mean a little bit more. During this Thanksgiving season, I am thankful for the angelic message, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,” Luke 2:10-11.
Neither the Freedom From Religion Foundation nor the Grinch have been able to steal Christmas, and for that I am thankful.