We had just walked in the house from church last night, when a friend already there, said, “Please let me take you somewhere and show you something that you will never forget.” We thought it would be Christmas lights or a nativity scene. No problem, we love each of those.
So all five of us jumped in her car and took off. On the way, we continued to guess our final destination, someone’s house, the wonderfully lit town square, a local church and the nativity scene. We drove past all of that. We began to approach where she said it “might” be. All I knew that was in that area was a cemetery. We approached the drive and as I looked to my right there were candles illuminated everywhere, throughout the cemetery, every place where someone was laid to rest was a lit candle. It looked beautiful.
We turned into the drive and began to slowly pass through the display. Once a year I found out later the community sets up and lights a candle for each person who is laid to rest there so as not to forget them or their life. As it turns out I knew some who were laid to rest in that special place.
As we drove by, I recalled a teenage girl and how her memory continues to live on through her family and friends. And though her passing was sudden, I remembered standing in a line that wrapped around the funeral home as people came to say, “I was touched by this life.”
And there was a young child whose family I attend church with, and just a few weeks ago I listened to the childs father tell me of the memories of that young life and also how his family had survived the loss and how God had sustained them. A life in no way forgotten.
As we exited, our friend who had brought us to this special tribute said, “Look out there, those lights represent a life, a life that was born, they laughed, they cried, had husbands, wives, children, watched football, lived.”
It was in fact something I will remember for many years. Our lives… are truly never over. Our lives…they continue to inspire others, hopefully toward good, toward service to God and those we come in contact with throughout our lives here on earth. Earlier today, as I pondered what I had witnessed, the following verse came to mind and is indeed a wonderful representation for the visual image of hundreds of illuminated candles shining on a Georgia December night.
“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16.
So I get this text from, let’s say, a guy named T.J. It contains the following question. What if you woke up today with only the things you asked God for last night? Would you be happy?
Hmmm. It intrigued me so that I tied it into a lesson to be used tomorrow morning entitled, What Do I Really, Really, Really Want For Christmas?”
The word “gift” occurs 57 times in 52 verses in the New American Standard Bible. I won’t list them here except for one. 2 Corinthians 9:15 says, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”
Have you ever received an indescribable gift at Christmas? The gift that was so far outside the realm of possibility that you did not even ask for it. I have.
December 24, 1989, opening presents with a large gathering of in-laws. I was given a neatly wrapped box from my wife Derinda. Carefully I opened it as the rest of the family looked on. In it was a new diaper. In the diaper was a note, which said, “John, if everything goes well this time, in September of next year, you will be a father.” I loved it! And I have been blessed by that indescribable gift for 21 years. I could not have imagined something so wonderful so I did not ask for it.
But who would give a baby as a gift? God would. He would give an indescribable gift to the world.