Hope For Dan & Audrey
Christmas is about the birth of a Savior. Always has been and always will be.
I was in my office, as usual busy at the computer. I glanced up from my work to see our neighbors Dan and Phyllis driving off in their truck, perhaps to do some Christmas shopping. A man and his dog ambled down the street, braving the extreme wind chill. A squirrel ran to and fro through our yard, doing whatever it is squirrels do.
It was a day just like any other.
Except, it wasn’t.
That very day, just hours later, seven emergency vehicles would descend upon our street. The first arrived less than two minutes after the 911 call, yet not in time. Dan had suffered a massive heart attack. He went quickly.
A week before Christmas.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the “busyness” of the holidays, isn’t it?
Hurry up, it’s time to go.
Is everything in the car?
Put that casserole on the floor, not on the seat.
Do we have all of the gifts?
Do we have all of the kids?
A hectic holiday schedule wants to dictate our every waking minute.
And then, the death of a loved one jolts you. It stops you cold, right in your hurry-don’t-be-late tracks. The timing is inconceivable and makes the heart ache all the more. How can this be happening…now?
Dan should be opening presents, playing on the floor with his seven great-grandkids and helping Phyllis with the dishes.
But, he’s gone. And, a family is left to grieve.
Two days after Dan’s funeral came another life-defining event, this a joyous one. Our friends Grant and Alison had their first child, Audrey Grace. I got to experience the thrill of holding a newborn baby.
One life ends. Another begins.
And in the midst of it all, we find a timeless message of hope.
God has known since the dawn of the ages when Dan’s life would end and when Audrey’s would begin. He also knew that they need a Savior, that we all need a Savior.
And, that is why we celebrate. Christmas is about the birth of a Savior. Always has been and always will be.
It’s about a God who was willing to do anything—and did everything—to save us.
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10, NIV)
Jesus. The Light of the World. The Hope For Nations.
What a tragedy it would be for Dan to have no hope as he left this world…and Audrey no hope as she entered it.
When we understand the enormity of what Jesus did for us, that he came to earth for the purpose of becoming sin so that you and I could have salvation, so that we could receive this holy and unwarranted gift of eternal life from a God who loves us like crazy—when we truly get that, down to our very core—that is when we understand the authentic message of Christmas.
At Dan’s funeral, the minister gave an altar call. Several people prayed to receive Jesus. In the season of gift-giving, they got the best gift of all.
One life ends. Another begins. And through it all, hope.