Lottie Moon Christmas Offering
"Why should we not ... do something that will prove that we are really in earnest in claiming to be followers of Him who, though He was rich, for our sake became poor?" Lottie Moon, Sept. 15, 1887, Tungchow
The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering was established in 1888 to empower the international missions efforts for Southern Baptists. After more than a century, the annual offering continues its steady growth. The National Goal this year is $160 Million. Your giving enables missionaries to be sent to make disciples and multiply churches among unreached peoples and places for the glory of God.
The offering is named for Lottie Moon, a missionary to China whose letters pleading for mission support still resonate today. She died December 24, 1912, after living a life of total sacrifice to God and the people of China.
Lottie Moon was a woman passionate about reaching people for Jesus' name. She served 39 years in China, and while some rejected her, through baked cookies she reached out to and was accepted by many. Lottie Moon did not just live in China, China became her home. She took on the dress and appearance of the Chinese, and was able to identify with the people because of this. She wrote letters home to Southern Baptists urging them to become more involved in missions. Her letters began the pattern of giving to international missions, and with the first offering, three new missionaries left for China. Her life was one dedicated to the furtherance of the Gospel, and through it, many people came to know Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Today the offering is still used to further the Gospel by funding international missionaries.
The LMCO can help reconnect Southern Baptists to the core of Christmas—Jesus was born to save the world.
More About Lottie Moon
Born Charlotte Digges Moon in Albemarle County, Virginia, Lottie Moon was considered a free spirit who took great delight in playing pranks. As a student at Virginia Female Seminary near Roanoke she wrapped the clapper of the school bell with blankets and sheets in order for classes to be late. She mastered Greek, Latin, Italian, French, and Spanish and was one of the first women of the South to receive a master’s degree.
Lottie rebelled against Christianity although her parent’s home often served as a home away from home for traveling Baptist ministers. She attended a revival meeting to scoff at the service and surprised herself and her friends by making a public profession in Christ.
She was very aware of God’s calling her to missions; however, she would not be appointed because only wives of missionaries were accepted. Her sister, Edmonia, was appointed to Tengchow, China in 1872, and Lottie was appointed and joined her there a year later.
Lottie served as a missionary for 39 years mostly in Tengchow and P’ingtu. She was called “foreign devil,” “foreign-lady teacher,” “heavenly book visitor,” and most endeared as “the cookie lady.” The children of the villages were warned that she may poison them, but they couldn't’t resist the sweet smell of the cookies she baked to gain their trust and ultimately an entrance into their parents’ homes. She adopted the Chinese dress in order to stay warm in the winters which made her more approachable to the Chinese. She is known as a tireless, fearless and forceful missionary, but she was also very human. Many times she grew frustrated with herself and her work. She also suffered from loneliness.
Lottie Moon wrote home often giving accounts of China’s hunger for the truth and the struggle faced by the missionaries. She shared the urgent need for more workers and the need for prayer and financial support for the workers on the foreign field.
Facing flood, famine and war in 1912, Lottie began starving herself in order for the Chinese people to have food. As the Christians in P’ingtu were eating sweet potato vines, roots and leaves, the Foreign Mission Board could offer no help because of their own financial woes. Lottie stopped eating and as her health declined she and her appointed nurse were put on a ship for home. On December 24, 1912, she died in the Japanese harbor of Kobe.
Lottie Moon accomplished several things during her tenure as a missionary. She led the campaign to end the Chinese practice of bound feet. She suggested the idea of a stateside assignment for missionaries. Woman’s Missionary Union was established in part by her influence and she inspired others to join her on the foreign mission field. She suggested to Southern Baptists the idea of an offering for missions which would later become the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering®. She wrote, “Is not the festive season, when families and friends exchange gifts in memory of The Gift laid on the altar of the world for the redemption of the human race, the most appropriate time . . . to send forth the good tidings of great joy into all the earth?”
--Adapted from International Mission Board publications