As my post continues, open your heart to the circumstances that confronted my two young boys. Perhaps something within you will be awakened as we approach the day that signifies the birth of love and great joy to all mankind, now let’s continue our story.
…We needed to make one additional stop. One of our dear friends, a neighbor to my mother, whom we have known for many, many years was going through a trial and we wanted to pay a visit. Her elderly husband was confined at home with hospice care and we thought he might like a visit from us and the “crazy kids”, they have loved our boys for as long as we have!
It is always a bit shocking to see the frailty of life thrust in your face. Over a very short period of time this strong, joyful hardworking, spirit-filled man had become very sickly, gaunt, having great difficulty breathing. Not the man I remember working in his garage, constantly building model planes that he loved to fly and gifting our children his latest woodwork toy. He was dying.
The boys slowly moved closer to him, they had never seen anybody dying before, not like this. My youngest shared with him that he had just been baptized. As tired and sick as he was, the neighbors eyes lit up! He was overjoyed, lifting his arms toward the heavens, thanking God for Derek’s decision. The boys asked if they could pray with him. He couldn’t have been more receptive! The prayers were short, but sweet and most definitely heartfelt. The boys went back to their grandmothers while everyone hugged out their goodbyes. This was a visit much appreciated by these special friends.
Moments later, my wife and I walked next door, back to grandma’s house. We were both very happy that we had decided to bring the boy’s with us. I could feel the sadness hanging over the living room like a heavy, dark veil. My oldest sat quietly, very quietly on the sofa. This was most unusual for a boy that typically exuded energy. My youngest was curled up in the over-sized easy chair, with great futility, trying to contain his tears. Their Oma came out of the kitchen, wiping her eyes, trying to be strong for the boys but cracking under the atmosphere.
Those two spirit-sensitive, compassionate young boys were struggling with their emotions and struggling with the concept of life itself. They were trying to make sense of the very thing that many grown adults battle, the question of, “Why?” What followed were a series of marvelous conversations that took place then and throughout that day.
Just as in the baptism that Derek had undergone, it was a symbol of death to restored and resurrected life. I was able to help young Derek understand in a very practical and age appropriate way, the meaning of being “born-again”. There is no “born-again” state without death to our old self, death to our own selfishness nature. Death is a cycle we all endure, however, as a believer, we hold the promise; the gift, of everlasting life with our creator. Death is not the final word, it is simply a transition, a new chapter, if you will. Our precious friend was merely transitioning before us. There is no need to fear death.
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.” Romans 6:1-5
There is also no need to fear the questions when you have the answer. Thank you Lord that you have given us the answer and that answer comes in the gift that you have given all those who would accept you into their hearts, the gift of everlasting life. Thank goodness life is not a “gift exchange”, I could never come close to matching that value. But then again, none of us has too, just be thankful and show it to others!
The great thing is that there is plenty to go around. My blessing for you this Christmastime is that you accept it and simply thank Him, whose birth we celebrate this time of year and whose sacrifice was the “biggest” and “best” gift of all.
If you feel the tugging on your heart, if you know that contentment has never been within your grasp, if you know that things can and must be different I would be remiss if I didn’t give you the opportunity to share in the gift that has been given me by asking Him into your life. It begins as simply as a prayer:
Lord God, I thank you for your presence here today. I come before you a flawed and weak person, undeserving of the gift you offer me. Despite my sin, I ask you into my heart. I do believe I can be saved through the blood and sacrifice on the cross of your son Jesus Christ who died for our sins. I come to you for complete restoration as I begin this new life in you. Cleanse me of my sins and reside in me. I welcome you with open arms and seek to follow you all of my remaining days. I thank you and in your Holy name I pray. Amen.
Now get plugged into a local church and they will provide further guidance as you begin your new walk. I pray that as we look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus that today would be a day to celebrate your rebirth in Him.
God bless you and your family this holiday season and every day!
©2016 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design
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