OTHERS - Helping in the Harvest: Angel Tree
Have you ever seen those Christmas trees covered with paper angels? Not just any paper angels, but ones that have the name of a child and what they would like for Christmas. Have you ever wondered what they are for? Or maybe why people walk up and take the angels?
Well, the “angel trees” are actually part of an outreach headed by a division of Prison Fellowship called Angel Tree (you could have guessed the name, right?) Angel Tree was made as a way to reach out to children whose parent or parents are imprisoned and can’t give them a gift this Christmas. At the same time, it shows both the children and their parents God’s love though the compassion of His people.
The program starts with Angel Tree Ministries and other prison ministries who sign up incarcerated parents who would like help to send a gift to their child. An angel-shaped tag is made with each child’s name, age, and what they would like for Christmas. These tags are distributed to local churches and stores who have signed up to participate in Angel Tree.
The churches and stores then set up their own “angel trees”. People can take a tag and buy a gift for the child. They wrap it and bring it back to the Angel Tree location. On the week of Christmas, the gifts are delivered to the kids with a note from their parent. While the gifts are being delivered, the volunteers get to share the real reason of Christmas with the kids. The children learn the joy of knowing that their parent still cares for them and that God cares for them too.
It is not just the kids, though, who grow closer to God through this ministry, but their parents as well. The parents see Christians who care enough to buy a Christmas present for a child they don’t even know. Then when it is given, those people don’t take any credit, but give it solely in the parent’s name. You can only imagine what the parents think when they witness this love and kindness.
Angel Tree is simple, but it makes such an impact. It helps to restore the relationship between a child and their parent. The gift opens doors to talk to people about God’s love. And what better thing to focus on as Christians than God’s love- especially during this time of year?
“...I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
How to Help
DoTalk to your pastor or church secretary to see if your church is involved in Angel Tree. See if you can help coordinate it. Tell your friends about the ministry. Maybe your family could buy a gift for a child together. No matter how creative you get, remember to get the gift back on time! To find out more about Angel Tree go to http://www.prisonfellowship.org/deliverlove
PrayPrayer is so important. Pray for the child your gift is going to as well as their parent. You can also look at http://www.prisonfellowship.org/deliverlove-stories and pray for the children in the stories featured there.
GiveAnother fairly simple way to help is to give. Angel Tree has an online option for getting a gift to a child which is a great way to get involved if your church is not registered. You can choose a child based on age, gender, and the state they live in or let Angel Tree choose one for you. Go to https://www.prisonfellowship.org/deliverlove-gift for the online gift option or go to https://www.prisonfellowship.org/deliverlove-donate-now to support the ministry.
“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is known to be my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly be rewarded.”