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The Reach of God

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

I was a teenage mom, not by accident, but by choice. From the time I was a little girl, dragging around a baby doll, my greatest desire in life was to grow up, get married, and have babies. I was just 18 when I married my High School sweetheart. A week later, we headed across the country to Florida where he was serving in the Air Force and would be for another seven months. Did we want a baby? Absolutely! Did we have any sense? None! Did we stop to consider he would soon be unemployed and we would be uninsured? No, we didn’t think of that.

I had an easy pregnancy, happy to be carrying my new husband’s child. As we got close to my due date, the doctor commented that the baby was not turned in the head-down position, but expressed confidence he could turn it before birth.

Unfortunately, she arrived more quickly than anticipated, coming feet first with her umbilical cord collapsed against the birth canal. I was in imminent danger of losing our baby at that moment. I was rushed to the delivery room where they cut me and literally pushed and pulled my baby out of the womb.

As they pulled her out, she was ghastly white and I thought that my baby was dead. There were no congratulations, no happy cheers, and most ominous, there was no cry from the baby. She was immediately whisked out of the very somber delivery room. In panic I kept asking, “Is my baby OK? Is my baby OK?” I could not bring myself to say what I feared most—was my baby dead?

They could only respond, “We’ll know in a few minutes.”  That few minutes seemed such a long time for this panic-stricken young mom. Finally, I heard a weak little cry and someone said, “That’s your baby.”  Words cannot describe the incredible amount of relief I felt with hearing that tiny cry.

A few minutes later they brought her to me, and I was certain she was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen.  She had totally captured my heart.

As I think of Mary, another teen-age mom, I wonder how it felt to know she was carrying God’s child. As she gave birth to her first born, I cannot imagine what it must have like giving birth in a stable instead of a cleaner setting. She gave birth not to the son of her new husband, but to the only begotten Son of God.

Knowing mankind’s desperate situation, God reached out and became a helpless baby to bring salvation to all who would receive. At Christmas we celebrate God’s incredible gift to mankind. Stepping out of heaven’s glory, Jesus became human. His mission was to become sin for us that we might receive the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).

If you have not yet received the precious gift of salvation, I urge you to invite Jesus to be your Savior and Lord. God in His grace is reaching out to you today. Celebrate Christmas by rejoicing in the most precious gift ever given—God’s beloved Son. Let Him capture your heart.

Daddy’s Pet and Yet?

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather through the law, we become conscious of sin. Romans 3:20

I was a born pleaser, blessed as a child with two loving parents. I tried so hard to do everything they asked. Not understanding the deep love of good parents toward their child, I came to the twisted conclusion that they loved me because I was such an obedient child. I knew my parents loved my siblings, but being the first-born daughter had given me a special daughter-to-daddy connection

When my baby sister was born and Mom’s lap became occupied, I climbed into Daddy’s very open lap and almost took over sole possession. My place at the dinner table was right next to him and no one else had better try to sit there! I would watch for his car coming up the dusty country road to our house as it neared time for him to come home from work. When it came around the corner, I ran as fast as I could to the gate at the end of our long drive way to meet him. He would open the car door and I would climb in to greet him and ride to the house by his side. I was teased about being “Daddy’s Pet”, but I relished that position.

Although I tried so desperately to be the perfect child, there were times when I messed up. Any harsh word from my father crushed me. Could I lose my special place as Daddy’s Pet? A nagging thought crept in–would he still love me as much?

As I grew up, I tended to view God the same way. I tried to be his perfectly obedient child, but I was hopelessly unsuccessful. As an adult, I wanted to be the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect Christian, and I dreadfully failed at all three. Ugly attitudes plagued me even when my actions hid what I felt.

Overwhelmed by feelings of failure and doubt, I wondered if God could still love me.  Through a miraculous demonstration of God’s grace, I came to the realization that he loved me not because of my goodness, but because of His.  What a tremendous relief and a life-changing revelation! Feeling secure in His love only increased my love for Him and my desire to serve Him more fully.

God revealed His holy standard by giving the Law, understanding that we would never be able to keep it completely. No matter how hard we try, we cannot be good enough to make ourselves right with God. We are desperately lost apart from the grace of God.

The Law was intended to demonstrate our hopeless condition and to draw us to the One who loves and forgives. Only Jesus was able to perfectly obey the Law. Through Him, and only through Him, we can come into God’s presence assured of His love and acceptance.

Take a few minutes to thank God that He did not leave us in our helpless and hopeless state, but chose to send His beloved Son to bring us into right relationship with Himself.