READINGOld Testament: Deuteronomy 9:23-10:5
Psalms: Psalms 50, 59, 60
New Testament: Hebrews 4:1-10
Gospel: John 3:16-21
Evening Psalms: Psalms 19, 46
“God so loved the world that he gave his only Begotten son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
This Christmas was sadder for me than past Christmases. In a few weeks it will be the 5th anniversary of when my son, Bobby, passed away.
I believe that nothing happens by chance – yet I was really startled when I looked at the readings assigned for today and found John 3:16 on the list. This verse was Bobby’s favorite. I think of Bobby often. During Advent, the Women’s Bible Study Group that I attend studied the book: “Not A Silent Night,”a story of Mary, beginning at the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, traveling back in time to His birth. Early on, I found myself identifying with Mary – we both had lost a son. Though the circumstances of our sons’ deaths were vastly different, we each suffered a heart-wrenching loss.
Many of you have lost a loved one, friend, or co-worker. I’m sure you agree that the pain you feel in losing someone you love is indescribable. When Bobby died, my family and friends offered words of kindness to help me through my grief; but for me, the words that brought me the most comfort I found in John 3:16. I believe being assigned this scripture to read, at this time, was no accident. I believe that this was God’s way of telling me that my son is where he is meant to be – resting in the loving arms of Jesus. God loves us so much that he gave his only Son to die on the cross so that my son, you, and I will have eternal life.
I have a picture hanging in my family room – it is a picture of a baby lamb in the arms of Jesus. At Easter, after we mourn the death of Jesus on Good Friday, we celebrate His glorious resurrection -- believing that Jesus, with open arms, will someday welcome us to eternal life in His kingdom. Amen.