Tuesday, December 1, 2015 

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1b 

In 1984 I lived with my family in Alabama and was doing a nursing clinical in rural home health care. One heartbreaking case involved a 3 month old baby very ill with pneumonia. The mother did not believe in anything but herbs and chants for medical care. She and I finally agreed that she would continue the herbs and chants but I would also administer antibiotics. This family lived in a one room shack with no electricity or running water, and with only one bed for the mother and six children. There was little food and only inadequate clothing. 

As Christmas approached I prepared a food box. My children gathered eggs from our hens, and rounded up extra blankets. We added these to the new sweatshirts and other clothing we had purchased and headed to the car. I told them we would visit a home much different than ours, but no questions were to be asked until we had left that home. With wide eyes they followed me up the broken steps and into the cold little shack. 

The mother happily received what we had brought while I gave the baby her medication. My youngest daughter approached the baby and exclaimed at how small and precious she was. All three children were very quiet, but I anticipated many questions once we left. However, the ride home was made in silence. Once home, the older two went to their rooms, lost in thought. My youngest hung back and then came her whispered question, “Mommy, how come people have to live like that, even sweet babies, and it’s Christmas time too?” I don’t remember my answer at the time, but I’m sure it was not what I would say today as a Christian. 

Today I would answer that sin entered our world through man long ago and with sin came consequences such as poverty, illness, and deprivation. But God’s answer to sin is Jesus who came to earth as a baby, to be our Savior and to redeem us from sin. Through this plan of redemption we can learn to live in right relationship with God and with each other. Because Jesus came, we can live in joyful reconciliation with God no matter our earthly circumstances. We also have hope of eternal life where there will be no sadness, pain, grief, or hurt. 

Anita Ratliff 

Prayer: Dear God, Thank you for your plan of redemption, and for the gift of your Son whose life, death, and resurrection restores us to you. Amen. 

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