December 29, 2011
I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, He would proclaim light .... Acts 26:22-23a
AS WE ARE STILL LITURGICALLY IN THE CHRISTMAS SEASON, THIS WEEK'S DAILY DEVOTIONS WILL CONTINUE TO CENTER ON THE SAVIOR'S BIRTH AND LITTLE-KNOWN PIECES OF INFORMATION CONCERNING OUR CELEBRATION OF THAT SOUL-SAVING EVENT. PASTOR KEN KLAUS
Charlie Fitch, practical joker, died in October of 2007.
Because he was a prankster, Fitch had to have one, last laugh. Enlisting the help of a pal, he asked the man to send out a Christmas postcard showing Fitch dancing the polka with his wife.
Oh, the postcard was to be sent the Christmas after Fitch died.
To make a long story short, Fitch's wife passed away before he did, as did some of the friends who were to get the card. But, eventually, Fitch met the end which awaits us all. His pal, faithful to his promise, put stamps on the postcards and sent them out.
Fitch's card read,
"I asked Big Guy if I could sneak back and send some cards. At first He said, 'No,' but at my insistence He finally said, 'Oh well, what the heaven, go ahead but don't tarry there.' Wish I could tell you about things here, but words cannot explain. Better get back as Big Guy said He stretched a point to let me in (in) the first time, so I had better not press my luck. I'll probably be seeing you (some sooner than you think). Wishing you a very Merry Christmas." Chet Fitch.
Terrible theology ... hardly Christ-centered ... but, even so, kinda humorous. That's how I would describe Fitch's final joke.
And it is a joke. It's a joke because all of Fitch's friends knew that when a person dies, that's it. There are no exceptions. He or she is gone. Period. End of reading.
Of course, history does record an exception or two, and all of those exceptions revolve around the Savior whose birth we have just remembered. Indeed, Jesus' entire purpose in life was to make it so that when we died, it wouldn't be the final chapter in our story.
Yes, we have celebrated Jesus' birth, but we dare not stop our recollection with the Bethlehem event. We also need to see the Savior who lived a perfect life, who rejected every temptation to sin, who carried our transgressions and died the death our disobedience had earned. Most of all we need to see the risen Savior -- the Savior who assures believers they will also rise to life eternal.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, let me see, believe and appreciate all that Jesus has done for me. May I hold fast to Him, whose resurrection assures me the grave is not my final end. This I pray in my Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries