Sunday, December 19, 2004

Left out in the Cold

A very special devotional for this time of the year.

Left Out in the Cold

Devotional date: Dec 19, 2004 Previous
By Mark Finley, On Solid Ground, 2003, RHPA

And this will be the sign to you: you will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. Luke 2:12.

It was cold, bone-chilling cold. The wind howled, and the snow fell heavily. It was Christmas Eve in 1952 in a remote village in Korea. Only a few people were on the streets completing those last-minute chores before Christmas. One lone woman in her early 20s slowly trudged down the street. Every step was labored. It was difficult for her to make much headway at all against the driving wind. She was nine months pregnant, and the baby was due that very night. She had no family. The young woman had become pregnant by an American GI. Now she was alone, all alone, with no place to deliver the baby. She remembered a kind missionary across town. Suddenly thoughts raced through her mind. If only I can get to the missionary's house in time, I can deliver my baby there.

Crossing a bridge to the other side of town, she recognized the telltale signs that the baby was about to be born. Stumbling down the hill to the riverbed, she found shelter under the bridge. There, in the freezing cold, this young Korean woman delivered a beautiful baby boy. Throughout the night she wrapped him in her own clothing to keep him warm.

Early Christmas morning as the missionary pastor was crossing the bridge, he heard the cries of the newborn baby. Quickly, he rushed to help. To his amazement, he found the mother frozen to death, but the baby boy, wrapped in her clothing, was doing quite well.

The missionary immediately reported the scene to the authorities. Since the boy had no father, the pastor eventually adopted him. As the years passed, father and son became inseparable friends. Ten years later, on Christmas Eve in 1962, the father told his adopted son about the incredible sacrifice of his loving mother. The boy was deeply moved.

On Christmas morning, when Dad quietly entered the boy's room to wake him up, he found the boy's bed empty. He searched the house but couldn't find him. As the boy's father looked out the window, he saw footprints in the snow. He hastily followed them to the bridge where the boy had been born 10 years before. There, to his absolute astonishment, the father saw the boy standing under the bridge--barefoot, stripped to the waist, shivering in the snow--crying. The father rushed to the son's side and threw his arms around the boy. The boy looked up through tear-stained eyes and said, "Dad, I wanted to know what Mama felt like in the cold that night long ago when she died for me."

Jesus wanted to know what it's like to be lonely, tired, rejected, sorrowful, hurt, and bruised, so He plunged into this cold, cruel, calloused world. He took the full brunt of Satan's viciousness. Jesus experienced a level of physical pain, emotional trauma, psychological distress, and spiritual agony that we can never imagine. The words of the prophet Isaiah ring with relevance, "Unto us a child was born." All Jesus experienced was for us. He knows. He understands. He empathizes. He is concerned. He drew near. He shivered in the cold world with us.

Come to Him with all your heartache, tears, and sorrow. He knows what you are going through right now and is by your side to help.



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