December 2017 Devotionals

December 4, 2017


An Odd Kind of Christmas Story
A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford


You'll think this an odd kind of Christmas story, and it is. I tell it only because I am so anxious that no one - no one! - miss out on receiving God's precious Christmas gift.


It was the week before Christmas in Illinois, on a Sunday night, and our family was headed for the church Christmas service. It was already dark, that time of year and that far north. As Walt turned a corner, our headlights picked out a car halfway up a neighbor's driveway. The driver - and we saw immediately it was a stranger, not our neighbor - had his car door open and he was leaning out, seeming to be looking for something underneath his car.


Walt drove down the road for a bit, and then stopped the car, and turned around. "I'm going back. There was something about that man I'm uneasy about." He pulled into the driveway behind the car, and called, "Sir, are you in trouble? Can I help you?"


The driver lurched out of his car, and we could see that, yes, the man was in terrible trouble. He had been stabbed in the stomach with a knife, and the knife was still in the wound. "Let me get help for you," Walt said. "Tell me who to call."


The man handed Walt his wallet, and then struggled blindly into the deep snow into the field next door, seemingly trying to get away from him.
I ran to the neighbor's house and borrowed the phone to call EMS. I found his parents' phone number in his wallet and called them.


"Whatever you do," his mother said quickly, "don't call the police. We'll come and get him."


"I'm sorry," I said. "He's terribly hurt. I've already called the EMS."


Shortly the police came, and then an ambulance. The men pulled out a stretcher and started after the wounded man. Already he was halfway across that field, laboring in the deep snow, stumbling in the drifts, somehow mindlessly determined they not catch him.


We watched anxiously as the rescue people chased him far across the darkened fields, also climbing over fences and stumbling in the deep snow, doing their best to reach him and bring him to safety.

His parents drove up. There was nothing more we could do, and the church family was waiting for their pastor to arrive, so we drove away. We never heard the outcome. Our last glimpse that night was of a man, perhaps mortally wounded, staggering through the deep snow drifts, desperately running away from the only help that could save him.


Christmas is the time when we celebrate the coming of the Lord Jesus, who is Life, who is Love, who is Forgiveness. This world is full of human beings mortally wounded by their sin. Christ came to earth to redeem them, to save them, to bring them to Heaven. Why would anybody stagger away into that black darkness, rather than come to Him for forgiveness and healing? He's God's indescribably marvelous Christmas gift to us sinners. Why would anyone want to turn Him away?


For God made Christ, who never sinned,
to be the offering for our sin,
so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:21