Greetings from the Moderator DECEMBER 2018
December is a time when we remember God’s gift to humanity. The birth of a baby in a manger; the greatest of all gifts - God incarnate.
As we journey through Advent to Christmas it is a time to reflect on the gifts we offer. We’ll be looking for special items to give to special people in our lives. That can be both stressful and exciting, but the reward comes when we see that gift opened and the appreciation of the one blessed by the giver. The only thing better might be giving a gift to someone we’ll never meet but who will be blessed by our love offering.
Matthew records Jesus’ instructions regarding giving:
…when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 
Many Central Florida Congregations participate in Operation Christmas Child, where shoe boxes are filled with items for boys and girls and are sent around the world to children that will be blessed by the gift and the giver.
Our church now has a big box from Osceola County, for unwrapped toys that will be given to children of needy families.
The Hope N Literacy Foundation, Inc. collects “dolls and balls” that Elder Joe Raymond personally delivers to children in Haiti the day after Christmas, when girls and boys from rural areas well come for a Christmas dinner and get one gift (probably the only gift they will receive all year).
Perhaps the most touching act of generosity, for me, occurred a couple weeks ago. I was preaching on 1 Corinthians 9: 6-15 and was speaking about Paul’s need for the Corinthians to respond to the need immediately. I told about a short-term cash flow crisis that Hope N Literacy experienced in October that made it impossible for them to pay the teachers, who earn $75/ month, on time. I appealed to the Mission Committee at St Cloud PC and they responded with funds to cover the shortfall. The illustration was intended to help the congregation understand the Principle of Immediacy! The next day I found an envelope on my desk with the following note written on the outside:
One month’s pay for a teacher in Haiti.
I don’t make a lot of money,
but they make less….
As we enjoy the many blessings God has given us, and especially the gift of His Son, I pray that we’ll all remember the needy.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 6:2–4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.