MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU! I hope you have a wonderful day filled with the love that Jesus brought to the world!
I'll share a story with you today. It's a little sad, but it's part of my Christmas memories.
Many, many years ago our family had a friend named John. John was an amazing Christian man. His love for the Lord was very evident. He and his wife tried for years to have a baby. After several miscarriages, they were blessed with a tiny premature girl they named Elizabeth. Elizabeth was too tiny and too early. The day she died we were all at the church praying for her. John came in, surprising us. We assumed he'd stay at the hospital every moment he could. But John felt a need to be in God's house and pray for his tiny daughter. I was a teenager at the time and didn't truly grasp the magnitude of all the was happening. I remember, though, watching John walk down the aisle of our small church and almost fall to his knees at the altar. My parents and others gathered around him, laying their hands on his heaving shoulders. I heard voices lifted in prayer, asking God for a miracle. Asking God to save tiny Elizabeth.
Then I heard John's voice above all the others.
"Not my will, Lord, but thine."
The same words Jesus prayed in the garden the night before he died on a cross.
In what I still believe is the most selfless prayer I've ever heard with my own ears, John let go of his own desires and only wanted what God thought best. And God's plan was to take little Elizabeth home that night.
Years later John became ill with cancer. On Christmas morning we received a phone call that John had passed away early that morning. I remember my Mom weeping as she held the phone. I cried too.
And then this amazing realization struck me!
John was celebrating Christmas in Heaven with JESUS!
While we have our Christmas dinners and our Christmas trees and our stockings and presents, John is in the presence of God! He can see and hear the Christmas angels singing praises to the Lord! He's there with Mary and Joseph and the shepherds and the wisemen! He's there with Immanuel!
Someday all of us who know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior will join John and the others. My Christmas prayer is that YOU will be among us!