USA (MNN) — Christmas is around the corner. But you know who won’t get time with loved ones? Prisoners. Most men and women in prison never get so much as a Christmas card.
And even if someone does send a prisoner a Christmas card, it’s not guaranteed to reach them. Doug Cupery, church mobilization director with Crossroads Prison Ministries says, “An increasing number of facilities are not allowing Christmas cards to even come into correctional facilities.
“What prisons have been saying is that there’s increased contraband coming in through the mail, whether it’s liquefied drugs into the paper and just different ways that people can get contraband in through the mail. So yes, we are just now starting to have to navigate a world where there may be increased digitizing of it. They may be photocopying it so that the prisoners do not get the original piece of mail into their hands.”
That’s why Crossroads’ annual Christmas card program exists – to send prisoners Gospel hope and let them know they aren’t forgotten.
Cupery says, “This year, we’re going to send in over 12,000 English and Spanish Christmas cards to our students. But an added thing that we’re doing this year is we’re going to be sending in over 4,500 Christmas letters to offset the closed doors to Christmas cards for those facilities.”
It’s a major project. But worth it. Prison at Christmastime is incredibly hopeless and lonely.
“The Gospel, number one, it brings truth,” Cupery says. “It brings hope. But it also brings a reminder to them that they are made new. The worst thing that they have ever done does not need to define them. They are indeed a new man or a new woman. And if they can just hold on to that, to carry it in their heart, that can change your whole life.
The responses to Crossroads’ Christmas cards reinforce the importance of this ministry. Cupery says, “Every year, oh my goodness, we get so many words back from our students about, ‘Thank you for remembering me. Thank you for being a light in this dark place.’
You can get involved in serving men and women in prison with Christ’s love! You can donate to support Crossroads outreach programs like the Christmas cards. Or you can even become a mentor and write letters with a Crossroads Bible study student in prison.
“I would encourage those that are listening to remember what Jesus said: That when we visit the prisoner, we are actually visiting Him.”
Cupery says, “If we believe that, if we can grasp on to that, through Crossroads we have the opportunity to visit the prisoner. We have the opportunity to bring biblical truth. But we also have the opportunity to bring that hope, that encouragement that these men and women are longing for.”
Header image courtesy of Crossroads Prison Ministries.