When a death falls close to the holidays, there is a strange mixture that greets you from the mailbox—the intermingling of sympathy cards among the familiar Christmas cards. Bitter-sweet, painful, comfort.
The sorrow of loss interspersed with the joyful assurance of conquered death.
My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life . . .
Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles. (Ps 119:50)
Each look at the babe in the manger is a reminder to me of the promise fulfilled:
But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. (Galatians 3)
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6)
Because of this babe in Bethlehem, we are no longer held captive as prisoners. He was the promised One who conquered death, that we could have life.
This Christmas season, if you are missing a loved one who normally sits at your dinner table, rejoice in the life available through faith in Christ, and each time you see a manger scene, whether on a Christmas card or depicted in a live Nativity, thank the Promised One for coming to bring deliverance and life.