“Help Is On The Way” (Retaking the Village Green 12/15/20)

“Help is on the way.”

We have all watched the news this week. After a long year, the first doses of the new vaccines are being administered to health care workers. One news reporter commented, as the nurse he was watching was poked, “Help is on the way.” I for one am glad. Having two of our kids as first responders, one a police officer, another an emergency room nurse in a pediatric hospital, I am glad that they and others who have been serving in difficult places in difficult times can begin to breathe easier.

I recently had the opportunity to be a part of a national conference call with Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the Corona Virus Task Force- graduate of Houghton College, devout Christ follower, and an expert in virus and infectious diseases. She was speaking to several dozen denominational and church leaders. As part of her presentation, she shared some sobering national statistics. In the 65 and over age category, 20% who contract the virus will be hospitalized. For those who are hospitalized, 10% will not survive. In the 35 and under crowd, 80% who contract the virus will never show symptoms and because of that they are of the greatest concern spreading the disease to others, especially older family members. On the positive side, masks are 90% effective in preventing the transmission of the disease when social distancing occurs. She also affirmed the safety of the upcoming vaccines. She included one important reason being that they have been able to use 6 years of previous research in the study of the SARS virus in crafting this new vaccine. While quickly developed, it was only possible because they have been able to build upon a solid foundation of known truths. So “help is on the way” medically, but so much more help is needed.

At Christmas time, the entire world is reminded (whether they are paying attention or not) that help, lasting help, life changing help is not just “on the way,” but has already arrived in the birth of Jesus. Jesus’ birth is a solid foundation of a known truth that provides help in profound ways.

People are struggling in so many ways this season. The emotion struggle of separation and isolation, financial struggle of loss of wages, the physical struggle in supplying for their households. The greatest struggle often overlooked is the spiritual. That all of us are separated, isolated in our relationship with God. God, out of his infinite love and commitment to us, provided a remedy for our spiritual isolation, our sin that separates us from him in the birth of his only son Jesus. Through Jesus eternal hope, lasting help becomes available for all who would acknowledge and receive Christ the Messiah into their lives. Jesus living in us and through us then enables us to be avenues of all the help that is needed to so many. I have been thrilled to see those who have stepped into opportunities to provide tangible help through the hope of Jesus living in them this season. The tangible gifts of help we provide point people to the eternal hope that is available, that goes beyond our present “lock downs” into never ending freedom with God.

I am glad for those who are gifted and skilled in professions that are beyond me. Medical science is one that I marvel at as people explore the intricacies of our bodies. God says, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” God our Creator created such amazing vessels we inhabit. I am also glad I am not the one who administers medical care to others. They are to be thanked and applauded.

I am reminded and challenged this season that each of us has been given a message of help and hope to be freely administered and distributed- the message of God’s hope through Jesus’ birth. Highlighted this season, but not confined by the calendar.

As we wait for the medical treatment promised, let us make sure we are sharing the eternal help that we have been given, and serve others around us with the same help.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given. And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9)

Merry Christmas

Pastor Kevin


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