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There's an Indian reservation where you can drive miles and miles and see no hint of Christmas; it's a long darkness with no lights.

But one Christmas Eve, Marcy literally saw the light as she staggered down the village street after another drinking binge. The church there was covered with lights, and she looked up and she saw the cross outlined in lights. A broken woman sought out the pastor's wife that night and made a life-changing choice. She opened her heart to the Christ of Christmas.

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Last fall, at a retreat where I was speaking, someone asked all my grandchildren to sing "Jesus Loves Me" up in front. It was adorable. Especially our little two-year-old guy. He was singing his own song. "Jingle Bells." Yeah, months before Christmas.

Now, our grandson's not the only one who's got "Jingle Bells" and Jesus confused. Christmas is so entangled with the Claus guy, and psycho Christmas shopping and a barrage of celebrations, you can miss Jesus in the season that's rooted in His birth. But behind the Christmas season fog is a game-changing message that is summed up in that little song - "Jesus loves me, this I know."

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The world was watching as that Chilean rescuer was lowered into the mine where 33 miners were trapped. As that capsule touched down in the mine...as the rescuer stepped out...and when the first miner emerged alive.

You know, in so many ways, it was a Christmas moment. The miners were trapped in a deadly place they could not possibly escape from. Just like us - separated from God because of our sin, facing an awful eternity without Him. The miners' only hope was a rescuer from above. Just like you and me. We can no more get to heaven by being good than those miners could dig their way out. One hope - a rescuer from above.

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I'm not so sure that the Friday after Thanksgiving is the craziest day to be at Wal-Mart. It may actually be the day after Christmas. Especially if you're engaging in that time-honored tradition of exchanging gifts that you don't want for stuff you actually do.

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For a lot of soldiers and families this Christmas, that song "I'll Be Home for Christmas" has never meant more. Because the troops are coming back from Iraq, and they'll be safely home at last.

There's something special about a homecoming; especially a homecoming at Christmas, which may be what God is wanting for you. Because having a love relationship with Him is the home your heart's been looking for your whole life. The problem is, according to the Bible, "...your sins have separated you from your God" (Isaiah 59:2). So many times, we've put us first and shoved God to the side. So we're empty...and lonely...and forever restless...feeling lost.

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It's amazing what a difference two little words can make. For example, "I do," "You're fired," "You're expecting."

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I was at a Christmas pageant where the angel was standing on a platform over the shepherds' heads. He got as far as "Fear not!", and fell right onto the shepherds.

The angel never got to the Good News part of Christmas. Like you, maybe. That first Christmas, the angel said, "I bring you Good News, today a Savior has been born to you" (Luke 2:10-11). You can celebrate Christmas this year but never really get to the Good News. It's all about a Savior. For you. That's good news for the same reason it's good news when a rescuer goes into a burning building to save someone. Someone will die otherwise.

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My visit to Jesus' birthplace in Bethlehem was really something special. The cave is under the Church of the Nativity where the door into the church is so low you can't go in standing up. You have to bend low to enter, which is actually pretty appropriate.

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One of the happy faces around our friends' Christmas tree this year will be their precious China doll - the little girl they went ten thousand miles to bring into their family. Her first year was in a cold Chinese orphanage. But our friends went a very long way at considerable expense to make her their child. And, she's an orphan no more.

And, neither am I. A spiritual orphan, that is. The Bible says that all of us are spiritually fatherless. Not by God's choice, but by our own. It says, "We have left God's paths to follow our own" (Isaiah 53:6). That's left us separated from God. That's why the hole in our heart. The loneliness that never really goes away.

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I've got a list for Christmas - with all the people I love on it. Santa's got a couple of lists - "naughty" and "nice." Surely I'm on the "nice" list.

God's got two lists this Christmas. They're like the lists posted in the White Star Line offices after the sinking of the Titanic - one said "known to be saved;" the other, "known to be lost." Well, listen to what the Bible says: "God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that has the Son has life. He that does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:11-12).

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)

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