From escaping the ravages of war-torn Congo to being given new life in Guatemala, from a family experiencing the joy of Christmas in Kinston to a birth mother finding new hope in Thomasville— stories that are remarkably different and incredibly alike. Each starts with the frailty of humankind and proceeds to the intersection of God’s grace and finally stops at the point of ministry. It is truly humbling to be part of covering these modern-day miracles through the pages of Charity & Children.
The SAT word is raconteur, the recounter, narrator, relater—the storyteller. My wife, a high school literature teacher, calls me by this name, and it seems to fit. Images form in my mind as I listen to personal stories. I scribble notes to remind me, and later I recall the pictures and write the words. Slowly, the story unfolds in these pages and comes to its conclusion with you, the reader, completing the task. Your response propels the mission forward and, again, makes the stories worth telling for the glory of God...
Granddaughter Emmalie was a shepherd in Gospel Baptist Church’s Christmas drama. “I don’t have lines this year, but my job is important,” she assured me. She is right, of course. The shepherds followed the angel’s urging and went to Bethlehem to see the power of God at work among them.
“Remember, Papa? I was a sheep last year, and now I am the keeper of the sheep,” she continued. Her words bring to mind the gospel message. In stories and parables, Jesus likened us to sheep in need of a shepherd. By weaving those details into the Christmas pageant, my granddaughter is a reminder of my own condition and the Good Shepherd’s intervention on my behalf.
In my mind’s eye, I see it: “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). I envision the individual parts we play in God’s plan: “Rescue the perishing, Care for the dying, Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave; Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen, Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save” (Fanny Crosby, “Rescue the Perishing”). We no longer walk in darkness but follow the Savior in goodness and light. What a terrific message. It is a story worth telling and retelling.
In homes across our state, observances of the holiday season took place. Traditions were center stage as we embarked on a journey through Advent to Christmas day to the New Year. In our churches, worship leaders told the story in myriad ways to draw us all closer to the Lord God who demonstrates love in miraculous and practical ways. We acknowledged the gift offered and gratefully received it.
I, and you, are the raconteurs, the witnesses and proclaimers of God’s redemptive love from heaven come down to earth. Look anywhere, and you will see; listen everywhere, and you will hear. As partakers in this mission of ministry, we join together in cooperation to be the extension of that love and grace. We acknowledge, individually and collectively, that our response makes an eternal difference, and we say with the prophet: “I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
We anticipate the coming year with hope, believing in a new season of miracles. We lift our hearts and sing the hymns of redemption, we recount the Bible stories of God’s faithfulness, and we walk with assurance in awe of the Father’s great love in sending His Son into this world as the way to salvation— if we only believe.
This year, you will find even more stories in Charity & Children as we expand each issue from 12 pages to 16 pages. To reach this goal, we will go from printing 11 issues to 10. C&C continues to be like a beloved letter—the one you eagerly look forward coming into your home. Read His story. Read these stories. Rejoice and be glad. And then join us in this new year as we serve as the hands and feet of Jesus, sharing His love to all those we meet.
Written by Jim Edminson, Editor of Charity & Children