The world is a better place because of what Jesus did in the life of Chuck Colson, the founder and namesake of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Though many in younger generations aren’t as familiar with Chuck’s Born Again story, his legacy is one we are proud of and committed to stewarding for the glory of God.
Tomorrow, October 16, would have been Chuck Colson’s 90th birthday. His legacy continues, not only in the ongoing work of the Colson Center, but also the continuation of Prison Fellowship, especially the Angel Tree ministry. Here’s why that ministry is so important, direct from our founder, Chuck Colson:
There are few things that thrill me more at Christmas time than Angel Tree! When I went to prison [in 1974], my greatest concern was not for myself, but for my family. I and other inmates anguished over ways to show our families we still loved them.
That’s why, when Prison Fellowship staffer and ex-bank-robber Mary Kay Beard began Angel Tree [in 1982], I knew immediately that we could reach those families who suffer so much at Christmas. Since that beginning, Angel Tree has brought the message of Christ’s love to millions of prisoners’ children through volunteers who deliver gifts to them on behalf of their incarcerated parents.
Every year, Patty and I bring gifts to one or two of these children. For me, it just wouldn’t seem like Christmas without Angel Tree.
The same is true for a young man named Robert. At 10, Robert watched his dad handcuffed and driven away to prison. To keep the family afloat, Robert’s mom packed up and moved them from their comfortable home in the country to a gang-ridden urban neighborhood. As she struggled to put bread on the table, she warned her children that Christmas might not look like much that first year without their dad.
On Christmas morning, Robert woke up to find a bare room and his mother crying on the couch. He went over to her and wrapped his arms around her. He told her that he did not mind that they didn’t have any gifts; that they were not all that important.
But her tears were tears of joy. She told Robert to go look out on their front porch. There he saw gifts piled high, some with labels with his dad’s name on them. They were Angel Tree gifts, given by volunteers from a local church. But Robert did not know that at the time. All he knew was that his dad loved him and remembered him.
Robert and his family began attending the church that had been so generous. And when Robert’s father was released from prison, he began attending the church as well. Over the next few years, Robert dabbled in gang activity and even dropped out of high school, but through it all, the church was there supporting his family and reminding him of Christ’s love.
Robert became a committed believer and eventually signed on as the youth pastor of that same church. And every year, he and his wife sign up to purchase gifts for Angel Tree children.
Doesn’t that give you a marvelous picture of what the Advent season is really all about? God entered into our darkness with light in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ. And that light, the Light of the world, changes us and enables us to spread the light to others.
That was Chuck Colson, sharing about Angel Tree, a ministry dear to his heart. In remembrance of Chuck’s 90th birthday tomorrow, would you consider participating in the ministry of Angel Tree? To learn more, please visit www.angeltree.org.