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December 23, 2020

The Miracle of Christmas

At this time of year, my son taught me eternal lessons about God’s Son.

My mind was reeling. How long had it been? Everything was happening in slow motion. The explosion, bullets hitting me, the smell of charred skin, everything around me spinning. Now I’m on a hospital gurney in a triage room in a field hospital in Da Nang Vietnam. There was confusion as casualties from various firefights were brought into the room. Sights and smells that would haunt me for years assaulted my senses.

Then I saw the kind eyes of an Army doctor telling me they were taking me to surgery. The next few days were mostly a drug-induced blur mixed with moments of intense pain.

One day, I was aware of a doctor talking to my brother, who was also serving in Vietnam. I heard him telling my brother I was going to die; there was nothing else they could do. As my brother wept by my bed, not knowing I was conscious, I felt a fear I had never known during my times in combat. I was afraid! I didn’t want to die. I cried out silently to a God I neither knew nor believed in: “God, if you let me live, I’ll do anything You want!” He did, I didn’t!

Several months later, when I was able to communicate, they explained the extent of my injuries and how long it would take to recover. Among the different realities, they told me I would be unable to have children. Not married at that time, the news did not really impact me.

Later, after I did get married and spent years having nightmares, drinking, and being unfaithful to my wife, the God I cried out to in Vietnam became real and personal to me. Shirley and I asked Jesus to come into our lives and save us. Over a period of time, our marriage was healed and our lives were being restored with new purpose. Two years later, my wife informed me I was going to be a father. I was filled with joy! When our baby arrived, the doctor announced we had a son. Three days later we took Joshua home from the hospital on Christmas Eve.

That evening, after Shirley nursed Josh, I put him to bed in his crib. I remember standing there looking down at my son who was helpless and vulnerable. Suddenly, I flashed back and was hearing the doctor telling me, “You won’t be able to have children.”

It was only a moment and then I was back looking down at my son in the crib. Then I heard the still small voice of God my Father saying, “That’s how much I love you!” Christmas took on a whole new meaning for me. While I would die to protect my son, God sent His Son to die a horrible death to pay for my sins, to remove the guilt and shame of my past.

This Christmas, so many around us are confused, fearing the future, feeling hopeless and without peace or joy. Let’s remember Christmas is about giving. It’s also receiving the gift of God’s only Son. Jesus said, “I come that you might have joy and that your joy would be full.” His joy will give you hope in the midst of life’s storms. Rest in His love and receive His hope!

Merry Christmas!

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