by Shane Scott
Yesterday morning I woke up excited about my plans to spend Christmas day with some good friends. But as I was enjoying my coffee, I received heartbreaking news that a dear sister in Christ had passed away. I would like to use this space to tell you a little about her and what she meant to me.
When I was five years old, my family moved from a place out in the country to a house in town. As it happened, the house we moved into was just across the street from a family called the Bushes. The mother of the family, Sandy, was a devout believer. At the time, my own mother was not living as a disciple, so I needed all of the adult role models I could find. Sandy more than filled that need. She offered to take me to Bible class with her children any time I wanted to go, and I quickly struck up a wonderful friendship with her children, who became my most frequent playmates as a child.
Soon after we moved into the same neighborhood, Sandy gave me this New Testament. I vividly remember using its table of contents to learn the books of the New Testament while sitting in my bed! A few years ago, Sandy visited where I preached in Nashville, and I showed the church there this New Testament and got to share with them what a difference she had made in my life.
Sandy is one of many women I could list who were not related to me by blood but who were connected to me through the blood of Christ, and who went out of their way to encourage me in Christ. You may never have heard of Sandy Bush, or Doris Tyler, or Edith Tirey, or Loretta Smith. But the Lord knows those who are his, and I know that my life would not be the same without these loved ones who have gone to be with him. And there are many more sisters in Christ, still living, whose sweet fellowship in Christ means more to me than ever, and who have fulfilled the promise of Jesus that in his kingdom I will receive “many times more” parents in this age, while looking forward to eternal life in the age to come (Luke 18:30).
Yesterday was the day many people celebrate the birth of Jesus. The story of the incarnation is ultimately about love. God loves his creation so much, he entered into it to save it, and he did so by taking on himself human nature. This means that every human being matters to God, including every sickness, and every death.
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted (Hebrews 2:14-18).
And through the resurrection, Christ has paved the way for all of us to live again.
Hail! the heaven-born
Prince of peace!
Hail! the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die:
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King !”
And it is in this hope through this King that I look for the day to see Sandy again.