MBCH Children and Family Ministries
Help Fulfill Our Children's Hope and Anticipation of Something that will Change Their Lives Forever
I want you to feel the longing of our children:the longing for someone to love them now and the longing for someplace to belong for the rest of their lives. I want you to sense their anticipation that something is about to happen that will change their lives forever. I want you to experience their hope and understand that you are a part of making that hope a reality.
It will soon be Advent season. Coming from a traditional Southern Baptist background, I was not really exposed to the formal celebration of Advent until the last few years, but all Christians understand that the days leading up to Christmas are a time of anticipation and expectancy. We look forward to once again celebrating the birth of our Savior.
When we think of this season of anticipation, we obviously focus on the events that took place in Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago. But we are also encouraged to think about the Second Advent – when Jesus returns to earth to claim His final victory over sin and death. I have come to understand that this desire for God coming to earth goes back to the Israelites’ yearning for deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Advent is really the anticipation of a day when pain and suffering ceases and God’s peace comes upon the earth.
As I think about the children and youth in our care at Missouri Baptist Children’s Home, I know that most of them have never even heard the word “Advent.” They don’t understand the spiritual and theological background of this season – but they do understand the desire for deliverance from suffering. They probably understand it far better than I do.
All too often we talk about the tragedy of the lives of children before they came into our care. But Advent is not about the past – it is about looking with hope to the future. I don’t want you to feel the pain of their past as much as I want you to feel the longing of our children: the longing for someone to love them now and the longing for someplace to belong for the rest of their lives. I want you to sense their anticipation that something is about to happen that will change their lives forever. I want you to experience their hope and understand that you are a part of making that hope a reality.
The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that this is the message of Christmas. God understands the desire for family because God created the family as the primary provider of love and as the primary metaphor for the Church. God loves His hurting children so much that He sacrificed everything to make it possible for us to be adopted into His family. He began the road to that sacrifice by becoming a human baby – born into a loving human family.
As our care staff and foster parents begin to prepare the children for Christmas this year, they are teaching them about God’s family. While we do everything possible to find our children homes with members of their biological family, adoptive homes or long-term foster homes, we know that we will not always be successful. But we do know that if we can introduce these children to God’s love and show them how to accept that love, they will become a part of an eternal spiritual family with thousands of brothers and sisters and the most loving Father imaginable.
I know you understand the importance of helping our children learn how they can become a part of God’s family. You also care deeply about helping us find or develop loving Christian families in which these children can grow up. Your gift will help us provide a meaningful Christmas to hundreds of children. Your gift will also help us find, train and support the “forever family” that fulfills their primary wish. Our children need you to consider making a sacrificial gift this year. We are providing care for nearly 600 children in our campus-based and community-based ministries this year and their needs continue to grow.
This Christmas, we want our children to have beautiful packages to unwrap, decorated Christmas cookies and other goodies to eat and the opportunity to gather around a brightly lit tree and sing carols – and your gift helps us provide all of this. But more importantly, we want to give these children a real chance at life. The greatest gift we can ever provide them is the knowledge of Jesus Christ as the hope of our world.
We know from decades of experience that many of our children begin to see God’s love through the generosity of Christian people at Christmas. You will never fully know the joy you create in our children when they open their Christmas presents and know that someone they will never meet cared enough to share Christmas with them. You will never fully know how many children you have helped find “forever families.” You will never fully know how many you have helped become a part of God’s eternal family. But they will remember you.
Thank you in advance for sharing the joy of Christmas with children who, most likely, are experiencing it for the very first time in their young lives. Help them know they have a hope that will last not only for a season, but for a lifetime.
I pray that God will grant you and your family a blessed Advent season.
P.S. Please mail your gift to Missouri Baptist Children’s Home, 11300 St. Charles Rock Road, Bridgeton, MO 63044. You can also make your gift on-line at www.mbch.org. Just click on the “Donate Now” button and select “Christmas” as the gift designation.