The twinkling lights on the tree, the smells of hot cocoa and pine, and the merry sounds of Mitch Miller’s holiday album set the scene for the most exciting Christmas of my life. I ripped open the glossy red paper my parents had so lovingly used to wrap the gift inside.
My tiny hands lifted the lid off the box to reveal my name embossed in gold on the front cover of a beautiful white book: the Holy Bible. I couldn’t even read.
I was only five years old, but vivid memories of receiving that gift remain etched in my heart. I cherished my Bible. Soon I learned to read it, memorize it, and internalize it. The message inside determined the direction of my life.
“Who would have ever guessed the bicycle I received one Christmas morning would prepare me for future pedaling along the streets of East Asia!”
Through the years, other meaningful Christmas gifts came my way: a cross necklace, an atlas, and an airline ticket, to name a few. And who would have ever guessed the bicycle I received one Christmas morning would prepare me for future pedaling along the streets of East Asia!
These Christmas gifts became tools in the hands of God, awakening in me a desire to understand the world, nurturing my devotion, and galvanizing me to join his mission. This year, we asked a few IMB missionaries to share ideas for meaningful gifts they give their own friends and family. Some of their ideas may inspire you. Have a look.
CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE
Gifts for Children
The Travel Book: A Journey through Every Country in the World by Lonely Planet Kids introduces children to world geography, customs, festivals, and foods from around the world.
Berlin: A 3D Keepsake Cityscape (Panorama Pops) by Sarah McMenemy is a pocket-size, pop-up city skyline book that focuses on this historically important European city. Other books in the series feature Rio de Janiero, Paris, Barcelona, Edinburgh, Hong Kong, Macau, Rome, Dublin, Venice, Prague, and the countries of Japan and Australia.
The Rani Adventures Series, a three-book paperback series set in the Amazon rainforest, by Ron Snell, is suitable for ages twelve through adults. You’ll be entertained by the characters’ childhood escapades, see the realities of primitive tribal life, and understand how the gospel changes lives.
International Adventure Series for teenagers features action-packed stories from the streets of Brazil, Iran, Amsterdam, Ecuador, the Pacific Islands and more.
Animated videos from Torchlighters feature well-known missionaries such as Jim Elliot, Eric Liddell, Gladys Aylward, Adoniram Judson, and Amy Carmichael, as well as other key figures from church history such as Martin Luther and John Wesley. One IMB mom describes the videos as “wonderful.”
Children of the World Jumbo Jigsaw Floor Puzzle by Melissa and Doug builds awareness in young minds about the different people and cultures in our world.
Professor Noggin’s Countries of the World Card Game is an educational trivia game for children that helps them learn basic information about the world and geography.
Gifts for All Ages
This deluxe scratch-off world map is designed so you can track the places you’ve visited around the world, but it can also be used as a guide to pray around the world. As you pray for a country, scratch off the outer layer to reveal a different colored layer below.
Give goats, cows, sheep, chickens, rabbits, pigs, seeds for a vegetable garden, or fish to stock a pond. The Baptist Global Response (BGR) Christmas Gift Catalog 2017 offers truly unique gifts, along with the opportunity to support disaster relief efforts and help disadvantaged people find their way to a better life.
From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions, by Ruth A. Tucker, gives readers an honest look at the life and role of missionaries.
Gifts for Women
Inkspirations: Pocket Psalms by Kristin van Lieshout is an adult coloring book that provides inspiration based on Scripture. Kristin, a former IMB journeyman who now lives in South Africa as a pastor’s wife, illustrated two books in the Inkspirations series, Pocket Psalms and Christmas Joy.
Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking by Fuchsia Dunlop provides easy-to-follow recipes for some of the most popular dishes in China.
India: The Cookbook by Pushpesh Pant is a comprehensive guide to authentic Indian cooking and contains more than one thousand recipes.
Nature lovers will enjoy receiving and wearing Little Birdie earrings, made by hearing-impaired, disabled, and disadvantaged artisans at Glad Tidings in Jordan.
The purchase of an Indian Kantha scarf, made of sari fabric by Village Artisans, provides women in India a chance to learn to read and write and send their children to school.
Nozomi necklaces made from broken pottery resulting from the 2011 tsunami restore hope and community to female survivors in Ishinomaki, Japan.
Gifts for Men
Profits from the sale of coffee beans from Hope Coffee in Honduras are invested to advance the gospel.
Moleskine journals feature covers imprinted with Bible verses—the perfect gift for a man who loves to write.
Scripture memory card sets for men can be placed in offices, on refrigerators, or inside lockers to help men internalize God’s Word.
Checkerboards made of Cambodian silk, from Heart of Cambodia, support AIDS survivors and their families.
Elephant or giraffe bookends, carved of rich ebony wood, benefit more than four hundred disadvantaged families in Kenya.
Running low on Christmas gift paper? Consider this important gift that requires no wrapping: support an IMB missionary. Your financial gift to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® for international missions can be given through a designated offering at your Southern Baptist church, but it can also be accomplished through direct online giving.
Remember to join the conversation on social media and tell us some of your best gift ideas for mission-minded giving!
Emily Stockton lives in Asia and writes for IMB. Her favorite overseas Christmas tradition is riding her bicycle home on a cold, starry night after the local church’s Christmas Eve service.
Feature photo by Kiara Marino. Kiara has served IMB with her family for the past four years in Europe and now in Central Asia.