A Christmas Message

From the founder of Christian Aid

Christmas 2009

I was hungry,
and you gave me food

I was thirsty,
and you gave me water

I was homeless,
and you gave me shelter

I was naked,
and you gave me clothing

I was sick,
and you visited me

I was in prison,
and you came unto me

Dear Fellow Christian,

On your birthday, do your friends and family send gifts to one another? Of course not. Birthday gifts celebrate the one who was born that day.

So how should we celebrate the birth of our Saviour? By exchanging presents with loved ones who already have what they need? Why not rather give to our Lord Himself?

While He was living on earth, He told us how we give to Him. "I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirty, and you gave me water; I was homeless, and you gave me housing; I was naked, and you gave me clothing; I was sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me." (Matthew 25:35-36, literal translation). Then He went on to explain "Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me."

The term "brethren" is used over 100 times in the Epistles of Paul to indicate those who were believers in Christ. He was "the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29). He is "the only begotten Son of God" and "As many as received Him also become sons of God" (John 1:12) and are therefore "His brethren." The wrath of God abides on those who do not receive Him (John 3:36), so there is no way that unbelievers could be called His "brethren."

Remember what our Lord said to Saul of Tarsus as he was going to Damascus to kill the Christians there: "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute ME?" (Acts 9:4). He didn´t ask, "Why do you persecute the Christians?" Today our Lord lives on earth within the bodies of those who believe in Him. When believers suffer, He suffers with them. And when we alleviate the pangs of those in pain, our Lord´s response is, "Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me."

So if we honestly want to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, our first and primary gifts should be unto Him as we minister to the needs of those who suffer within His body, the true church (Colossians 1:24).

That´s one reason why Christian Aid exists. We serve as intermediary between Christ´s family in affluent America and our fellow believers in the poorest places on earth, or those that are persecuted for His sake.

Your birthday gift for our Saviour, sent through Christian Aid, can provide food for impoverished drought victims who are hungry in Africa, or flood victims in India and the Philippines. You can save poor families from deadly illnesses by helping to drill a well for safe drinking water. You can visit those who are sick with malaria or leprosy or dysentery by providing life-saving medications. You can visit Christian prisoners held by Communists in Vietnam or by Buddhists in Burma or by Muslims in Islamic countries through paying fines to get them out or providing food for their wives and children. You can supply warm clothing for poor, unemployed Christian families in Siberia, where winter temperatures reach 50° below zero. You can help provide housing for families whose homes have been destroyed by earthquakes or floods. In poorer countries there is no such thing as homeowner´s insurance.

This Christmas, will your first and foremost gift be unto Him whose birthday we celebrate? Remember, Inasmuch as you give unto one of the least of His people, you give unto Him. Our goal for December is to distribute at least a million dollars among our brethren overseas who are hungry, thirsty, unclothed, homeless, sick and in prison. Your birthday gifts unto our Lord Jesus will make it possible.

With love in His eternal bonds,

Bob Finley,
Chairman of the Board

P.S. Every time I have sent out a Christmas letter during the past 50 years, some dear saints have reminded me that we have no way of knowing when our Lord was born. It surely wasn´t in December because shepherds were abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night (Luke 2:8). I agree, but does it really matter what day it was? The point is, we celebrate the incarnation of the Son of God. And since Christians have chosen to do it in December for about 1600 years, let´s rejoice together as we proclaim good tidings of great joy to all people.