This morning, thousands of people who call the Summit home will wake up to a rather traditional Christmas.  We’ll sit by the tree, spend time with family, and open the latest gadget or must-have item.  It will be Christmas as usual…we’ll read the story of baby Jesus and celebrate his birth.

This morning, over forty members of the Summit will wake up to anything but a traditional Christmas.  There won’t be a tree.  Family will be far away.  The gifts they give will fall more along the line of practical than extravagant.  And although they’ll celebrate Christ’s birth, it won’t be Christmas as usual. 

These forty are the heroes of the Summit: our international church planters.

These are people who have chosen to give up the creature comforts of a life in the states.  Some of them live in less than ideal housing.  Some have electricity for only a certain number of hours per day.  Most live in constant danger of being discovered and kicked out of their countries.  All have said goodbye to family, to friends, and to any semblance of a normal Christmas.

Yesterday morning I was reading the prophecies of Jesus’ birth as told by Isaiah.  In chapter 52 I saw this verse with fresh eyes, and I couldn’t help but think of my friends overseas:

The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. (v. 10)

I know some of our church planters land on this blog occasionally.  If today is one of those days, please know that Merriem and I are praying for you and your families today.  We pray for your Christmas celebrations: that you’ll have the opportunity to invite neighbors and new friends to hear the story of the Savior.  We pray for your families here at home: that they will understand the sacrifice you are making.  But most of all, we pray that you will continue to help the ends of the earth see the salvation of our God.

Church planters, we love you and are thankful for you.  Have a very merry Christmas!

If you’re a member of the Summit family and would like to leave a message for our church planters, feel free to do so in the comments section.