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Pastor’s Corner Pastor Mark Keefer, pastor, Garwin United Methodist Church Gladbrook, Iowa

January 9, 2020
Northern-Sun Print
Our Christmas season has been celebrated and now is neatly tucked back away into boxes and closets until we greet December again. For all the celebration of Christmas, I reflect on the fact that it would not even be a passing thought if not for Easter. There would be no reason to acknowledge the birth of Christ if it had not been for His sacrificial death and resurrection. His perfect healthy life was given up for my sinful imperfect life. Yet, because of God’s love for all the world, Jesus gave His life. When I consider such sacrifice, I recall a true story of a young brother and sister. The little sister had developed the same disease that the little boy had recovered from two years earlier. Her only chance for recovery was a transfusion from someone who had previously conquered the disease. Since the two children had the same rare blood type, the boy was an ideal donor. “Would you give your blood to Mary,” the doctor asked. Johnny hesitated and then, with lip quivering, said, “Sure, for my sister.” The two children were wheeled int the hospital room, Mary pale and thin, Johnny robust and healthy. They did not speak, but when their eyes met, Johnny grinned. As the nurse inserted the needle into Johnny’s arm, his smile faded as he watched the blood flow through the tube. With the ordeal almost over, Johnny softly asked, “Doctor, when do I die?” It was then that the doctor realized why Johnny had hesitated when asked to donate his blood. He thought giving his blood to his sister would mean giving up his life. The story always reminds me of Easter. It is true that in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus had a moment of hesitation when He asked the Father is there might be an alternative. “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.” However, He immediately reflected, “…not as I will, but as You will.” Earlier in the evening, as He was having the last supper on earth with His friends, Jesus had said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” As we begin a new year, I pray we take the gift of Christmas, the birth of a Savior with us into the coming year. May we be mindful of the grace God has shown us. By most accounts, we will not be asked to lay down our lives for the sake of others. We may be asked to lay down our pride and show humility when we encounter those in need, and offer words of kindness and hope. May the light of the star that led Wise Men to the Christ child shine in you throughout the year. Live in peace. See you in worship.
 
 
 

 

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