(as published in the Pioneer newspaper)
Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
I don’t know about you, but I cannot believe it is December already! This year has, as the old saying goes, “flown by!” The past couple of years have been, well, “unusual;” and that seems like the understatement of all understatements! In the midst of all of the unbelievable, confusing, and frustrating circumstances we are living through—from the pandemic, economic challenges, war in Ukraine, natural disasters—I would like to point out a scripture I recently came across that really spoke to my heart:
“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (NKJV)
God is with us. God will not leave us, nor forsake us. This passage immediately drew me to the New Testament and to the Gospel of John.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (NKJV)
The Incarnation is what Christmas is about—God became one of us when Jesus came to the earth He created, to save us. I have often told the story on Christmas Eve about “The Man and the Birds” (told by Paul Harvey many years ago) that describes a man who could not make himself go to church with his family on Christmas Eve because he could not accept the idea of the incarnation. After finding a flock of birds shivering on the ground under his house’s big picture window, the man struggles to get the birds out of a blizzard and into his barn. He flings open the barn doors, tries “shewing” them, and even flaps his arms trying to convince the birds to go into the safety of the barn. He then thinks to himself, “If I can only become one of them. If only I could become a bird and show them that I only want to help them, I could show them the way to safety. I could save them.” And at the moment, he hears the church bells ringing in the distance playing the song “O, Come, All Ye Faithful.” He falls to his knees in the snow and is overwhelmed by what God did for the world when He sent His only Son. Doesn’t that bring to mind other scripture verses from the Gospel of John?
John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (NKJV)
Have a Holy Christmas and a Richly Blessed New Year!
Remember: God loves you; God is in Control; God has a plan.
In Christ’s Service,
Pastor Chuck Kurfman, Highland Hope UMC