The Christmas Kettle (SHAKAINABE) is a fundraising campaign that the Salvation Army is conducting during the Christmas season to help people in need. It is a end of the year tradition that is also used as a seasonal word for haiku, with a pot hanging on a tripod and a red and white tasuki as landmarks. It is held by the Salvation Army all over the world and is known as the "Christmas Kettle" because it is held during the Christmas season.


Roots of Christmas Kettle

The roots of Christmas Kettle are in San Francisco, USA. It was the year after the "Panic of 1893". Due to the recession, US trade was sluggish, and many crew members became unemployed. Captain Joseph McFee, who was a Salvation Army officer, tried to serve hot soup to the family of unemployed crew members.

One morning when Christmas was approaching, Captain McFee found a black jar for a sailor camp hanging on a tripod in the shop window of a store. He bought it immediately, stood at the entrance of the downtown area, and hung a sign saying, “Please cooperate with the Salvation Army's soup reception" and called for donations.

This unique fundraising method moved many people, and coins were thrown into the black jar one after another. Then, from the following year, it began to be held in various parts of the United States.

In 1895, Salvation Army officers William McIntyre and N.J. Lewis, again in the eastern United States, stood on the street with soup pot donation box and rang a bell to appeal. This pot donation was called the "Christmas Kettle," and the Salvationist who rings the bell is now called the "Bellinger." In 1897, with the money raised in this donation, it was possible to provide a Christmas dinner to 150,000 people who are in need.

In Japan, the Christmas Kettle started immediately after the Russo-Japanese War, when there were many unemployed people. It started as a New Year’s gift, giving out goods such as rice balls, oranges which are put into a basket. It was done during the New Year holidays because it was the most difficult time to live. From 1909 (Meiji 42), the current form was inspired by the "Christmas Kettle" held in other countries as a measure to rescue the people who were unemployed.

While changing the names to "Collection Kettle," "Charity Kettle," and "Christmas Kettle," the use of donations received has expanded. Currently, it is used for various rescue activities (support for disaster victims and homeless in Japan and overseas) and various consolation activities including mother and child families, elderly people living alone, hospitals, various facilities, etc.

“Sign of Love” where people help each other

In Captain McFee's heart, he had caring heart for the unemployed sailor's family and trying to serve hot soup. This was based on the following scripture from the Bible,

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

(Matthew 9:36)

Perhaps he was merciful to see the heart of the Lord Jesus and the traveler who was hurt by the robbery and was encouraged by the heart of the Samaritan (Luke 10.33-35) who took great care of him. The word "mercy" describes the love of God who is so gracious that his internal organs hurt. That is right. He must have remembered the endless love of God who led him to salvation and began his work of love in imitation of his love.

A Christmas Kettle is said to be the origin of street fundraising for the end of the year in Japan. It can be said that this is a historical fundraising that shows "what is true for people to help each other". The Lord Jesus said,

“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”

(Matthew 6:3)

He also said,

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

(Acts 20:35)

The Christmas Kettle embodies the teachings of the Lord Jesus through the free goodwill of those who invest money in the pot and the free service of successive Salvation Army soldiers, without giving their name or asking for a receipt. It is a movement of "helping each other.”

The Christmas Kettle is also a "sign of love" that appeals to the good intentions of many people and draws out those good intentions. Once, my friend said,

“At the end of the year, I will definitely donate to the Christmas Kettle.”

With the cooperation of many people, the Christmas Kettle will go out on the street again this year to take care of its good intentions. At the time of the Second Coming, the Lord Jesus will smile and say to all who have engaged in the work of precious service.

“You have done well.”

That is prepared with ultimate “blessing and joy.”

If you would like to know more about the Christmas Kettle,
please click here.

Story of Christmas Kettle
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