Archives For Christmas

Lucie on her fourth birthday

Dr. Lucie Pentz grew up in Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) surrounded by rich reminders of her country’s faith heritage—from towering cathedrals to sacred compositions. As the ruling Communist Party aimed to diminish the influence of religion, holidays like Easter and Christmas were reinvented as cultural celebrations rather than Christian remembrances. Still, each Christmas Eve, children eagerly anticipated the arrival of Ježíšek (“little Jesus”), who would come bearing gifts. Continue Reading...

Traditions abound at Christmas time. Though each family celebration is unique, we wanted to offer a glimpse into how those served by the HOPE network around the world may be joining together with family, friends, and neighbors to rejoice in Christ’s arrival. We marvel at the beauty of so many countries and cultures celebrating the gift of Jesus’ birth and invite you to pause and reflect on the meaning behind your own familiar traditions. Continue Reading…

When I think about some of the most meaningful moments from Christmases past, it occurs to me that most of them involve music. Whether it be putting up garlands to the rich tones of the Robert Shaw Chamber Singers, whispering the melody of “Silent Night” at the end of a Christmas Eve candlelight service, or cajoling my sister into playing duets from our old Christmas piano recitals, there’s something about music that can make even the simplest moment sacred, that can tell a story more powerfully than speech, that can bring splendor and wonder and awe and joy.

So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that when the Lord wanted people to know about the birth of His son, He sent a choir.

This year, as Christmas nears, I’m expanding my holiday playlist. Friends from across the HOPE network took a moment to share the songs—both reverent and lighthearted—that they most enjoy, and their recommendations helped create this special HOPE Christmas playlist.

Please join me—and HOPE’s partners, clients, and staff around the world—in celebrating the coming of the Newborn King!

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by Peter Greer, President & CEO

’Tis the season for planning Christmas compassion projects. From filling shoeboxes to setting up angel trees, churches and organizations around the world are thinking about how to launch these elegantly simple ways of caring for others during the most wonderful time of the year.

There is so much that is right and beautiful about these annual giving traditions.

I love that they offer a way for whole families to practice generosity together. I love that they’re an invitation to think beyond our me-centered, consumeristic desires and recognize that there are significant material needs in the world. I love that they invite us to share some of what we’ve received. And most of all, I love how they provide a glimpse into sacrificial love and service, reminding us of the story of Jesus.

At the same time, there are shadow sides to many of these projects, particularly if they don’t extend beyond one-time charity distributions. 

For those of you who might be exploring what you should participate in this year, here are three questions to ask as your church and family seek to love and care for others well by getting involved this Christmas: Continue Reading…

Kathy Dodd was always at a loss when her four adult daughters asked her what she wanted for Christmas. Knowing she had more than enough stuff, she would joke, “Just peace and harmony in our family!”

But after learning about HOPE seven years ago, she soon began requesting items from HOPE’s gift catalog. Now each year, her daughters honor her with a gift while also investing in families around the world.

And Kathy doesn’t just turn to the HOPE gift catalog to build her own Christmas wish list. It’s also become a tradition for her to use it to choose gifts for her four grandchildren, ages two to nine.

Here are three reasons Kathy chooses HOPE’s gift catalog each December: Continue Reading…

For 51 weeks of the year, the front lobby of Willowdale Chapel’s Kennett Square campus is an airy space with cozy chairs and a café. But one Sunday each December, the room transforms into the HOPE Market—a vibrant, bustling marketplace operated by the church’s youngest entrepreneurs.

The wooden tables where people usually chat over coffee instead display greeting cards and candles, wooden clocks and mini-marshmallow shooters, all handcrafted by the children at Willowdale. With each sale, the kids work toward paying back the small loan they received from the church to make their item. Once that’s done, they give their profits to HOPE International. Last year, all their work totaled up to being a significant gift of $5,000.

“Part of our church’s vision is to love the world that Jesus is working to restore, and we wanted our youth to really learn what that means and to be a part of it,” says Jodi Byrne, who serves as a children’s ministry pastor at Willowdale Chapel, a church network in southeastern Pennsylvania that partners with HOPE.

The kids are invited to explore the role they play in that restoration during the three months leading up to the HOPE Market.

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