Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve We Celebrate the End of Death

Whoa! To some that might sound like a weird title. "We Celebrate the End of Death?" And some might wonder, "How do you get THAT out of Christmas?"

I became a believer at a very young age. We had just moved to a tiny foothills farm where my Dad was scrabbling to make a living for his growing brood. Our home was miles from town on a dirt road that was often impassable due to rain. We had no electricity. No running water. And probably no insulation in the old farmhouse in which we lived. A round cast-iron stove heated the dining room. The kitchen stove, a wood burner, heated the kitchen. We children slept upstairs and in the winter it was so cold that my crib was brought down to the living room. Our last winter there we subsisted on rabbits, squirrels, and corn meal mush. It was not a happy time in my mother's life.

But the event I want to get to occurred in early spring. Two neighbor ladies (bless their souls!) stopped by to pick up my two older brothers and take them to vacation Bible school. I was too young to attend. One of the things they learned was the song, "Jesus Loves Me."

Some time later, one of those brothers and I were playing out under the clothesline. I can distinctly remember the green grass and a mist rising off in the distance. My brother was dancing around, singing that song.

I don't remember hearing the name "Jesus" prior to that morning. But I do know was that morning that God put a desire in my heart to know Him. I simply knew (deep down inside) that I wanted to know who this Jesus was. If He loved me, then I wanted to know Him.

That was the beginning of my walk in faith.

But in spite of the fact that we later faithfully attended church and Sunday School (and VBS at various churches in town) it was not until I was twenty-eight years old that I understood the first chapter of John, specifically John 1:1-3, 14 that speaks to Jesus being God in the flesh, the Incarnate God. Up until that time I had concluded that Jesus was the son of God but that He had His beginning in Bethlehem. And when I first understood that Jesus was the Word from before the beginning of time, that He had no beginning, that He was fully God and fully man, I was simply astounded. And I've been astounded ever since.

Hebrews 2:14-15 puts it this way, "Since therefore the children (that's us) share in flesh and blood (since we are mere human beings and as such, subject to death, brought about by Adam's sin) , he himself (that's Jesus) likewise partook of the same things, that through death (his death on our behalf, at the cross) he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery."

Death holds no victory over those who are in Christ. When Time, as we know it, concludes, there will be no more death. Christ will have undone what the devil has done. The death and destruction that were brought into the world with the first sin, will no longer rule.

I Corinthians 15:21-22

So, this Christmas Eve, we celebrate the coming of the Deliverer, the Holy One, the Savior, the One who died for us that we might live. Thanks be to God.


Paula said...

As a Christian, death is not something to fear. I look forward to the day "to be absent from the body, and to be present with the LORD". Death has no more dominion over me!!! Thanks for the wonderful reminder. Merry CHIRSTmas!!!!!

jim said...

Wow! I cannot help but be reminded what Jesus said, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day". (John 6:44) God drawing you to His Son through the hearing of his Son's love for you and sung by a brother is about as biblical as it can get! What amazing grace!

Sheri said...

Lovely post. Hope you had a Merry Christmas.