Good News from the Manger to the Empty Tomb!
By Kayla Harden
Last December, we celebrated the good news of Jesus’ birth. Now that Easter is here, it feels like the world has turned upside down. Churches have closed their physical doors to embrace a digital presence. Many have lost their jobs or a significant portion of their income, while others have lost loved ones to this virus. It seems the bad news just keeps coming.
We need good news now more than ever. So, we cling to the good news of Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection. We celebrate how encountering the genuine Jesus gives us hope in times of fear and peace when the world is in turmoil. We celebrate how Christ’s Birthday Observance continues to support missionaries and ministries across the Church of God. Not only does Christ’s Birthday Observance support the established ministries of the Church of God, but it has also paved the way for new initiatives, including Arise for women in ministry.
Christ’s Birthday Observance is a seventy-one-year-old tradition in the Church of God. In 1949, the women in the Church of God saw that the season, meant to celebrate the birth of Jesus, was consumed by commercialization, busyness, and general holiday chaos (the same can happen at Easter!). These women wanted to do something that would encourage Christians to experience the true meaning of Christmas: the birth of Jesus Christ.
This led to the initiative of Christ’s Birthday Observance: a way to provide resources, prayer calendars, and devotions for Advent, the liturgical season leading up to Christmas. The observance then culminates in an offering to support missionaries and mission organizations across the globe.
Last year, Christ’s Birthday Observance expanded its offerings through a partnership between the CWC and a group of regional pastors. This new partnership led to more materials, including full sermons, children’s curriculum, and small group materials. Our goal for Christ’s Birthday Observance is not just to collect money to support missions, but to unite the Church of God movement in our celebration of Advent. This year, we had more churches join us as we celebrated the Good News as a movement.
“Thank you for your continued support of the Christ’s Birthday Observance offering, especially during a time in our nation when so many are focused on survival and staying safe. This offering continues to unite us as a Movement and provide opportunities for us to do more than survive but thrive as the church. Your gifts will aid Christian Women Connection to touch lives in the local, national, and international church as we seek to fulfill our missional call to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the world in the spreading of the gospel and meeting basic needs.” —Rev. Arnetta McNeese Bailey, Executive Director of Christian Women Connection
Currently, we have received $620,958.08 as of April 7, 2020. Due to the uncertainty surrounding this pandemic, we are extending the due date to remit funds from to May 31, 2020 (previously, the end of April). Our goal is to raise $800,000. If someone missed the chance to give in December when the church collected the offering, they can still give by texting “GOODNEWS” to 44-321, or they can send in a money donation or check written to Christian Women Connection at PO Box 2328, Anderson, IN, 46018 with a note stating it is for CBO.
Even as we celebrate what God has done through Christ Birthday Observance 2019, we are looking ahead to the Christ’s Birthday Observance 2020, where we will be “Experiencing the World-Changer.”
Kayla Harden serves as ministry coordinator of programming for Christian Women Connection. Learn more about Christ’s Birthday Observance (CBO) remittance at http://www.christianwomenconnection.org/2019-cbo-remittance.html. Also, please provide us with feedback about our most recent CBO by filling out this brief survey: https://forms.gle/1yqV2U2WbBr882Kx6. Thank you!
*Feature (top) graphic by Amanda Carden, image ID: 732562837. Shutterstock standard license.