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Advent Devotional – Sunday, December 17, 2017 – Life and Death @ Christmas

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

As I was about to begin this devotional, I received word that a dear friends Mom had just died. She and her husband have been part of my life since I was a little kid. My friends Mom was 87. They had been married 64 years. When I spoke to my friends Dad and told him I wanted him to be strong in the Lord and not give up on life, he said, “He has been a true friend.” I pray that all Christians will be able to say at the end of life, “Christ has been a true friend.”

At Christmas time for some we have a deep feeling of loss of a loved one who has went on to be with the Lord. We miss them. Many of you will feel your loss this Christmas more pointedly than before. Don’t block it out. Let it come. Feel it. What is love for, if not to intensify our affections— both in life and death? But, O, do not be bitter. It is tragically self-destructive to be bitter. Jesus came at Christmas that we might have eternal life. “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

Elmer and Marion had discussed where they would spend their final years. Elmer said, “Marion and I agreed that our final home would be with the Lord.” Do you feel restless for home? I have family coming home for the holidays. It feels good. I think the bottom line reason for why it feels good is that they and I are destined in the depths of our being for an ultimate Homecoming.

All other homecomings are foretastes. And foretastes are good. Unless they become substitutes. Oh, don’t let all the sweet things of this season become substitutes of the final great, all-satisfying Sweetness. Let every loss and every delight send your hearts longing after heaven. Christmas. What is it but this:  I came that they might have life. Our loved ones who went before us, and you and I— that we might have Life, now and forever. Make your Now the richer and deeper this Christmas by drinking at the fountain of Forever. It is so near.

 

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