"The Favorite Holiday"
November 27, 2013
(Jesus said) "Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them. Mark 10:15-16
A few weeks ago I shared a Daily Devotion that asked, "How low can a person go?" It is a topic you probably will see again in the future. This week the scale is balanced with a new category: "How good can we get?"
The story centers on Port Clinton, Ohio. Port Clinton, situated on Lake Erie somewhere between Toledo and Cincinnati, has about 6,000 residents: 6,000 very special residents. They are special because they have special hearts. At least they had special hearts for 13-year-old Devin Kohlman.
To understand Port Clinton you need to know a bit about Devin. Devin loved playing sports, but that stopped in the summer of 2012 when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. Devin, his family, and his doctors fought that cancer, but it was a losing battle.
When the doctors said, "He doesn't have long," the family brought Devin home for his last days. At the time Devin said he hoped he might be around to celebrate one more Christmas with his family. Christmas, you see, was Devin's favorite holiday.
Devin's physicians said, "That's not going to happen. His time is numbered in days, not weeks." All I can say is this, those doctors knew Devin's physical condition, but they didn't know the hearts of the folks in Port Clinton.
And this, my friends, is where it gets good. Even though it was late at night, when Devin came home, the folks of Port Clinton showed their support by standing along the route of his police escort. Then they put up and decorated a Christmas tree outside of Devin's window; then they brought in mountains of "snow" out of shaved ice and put it in his yard; then hundreds of them sang Christmas carols outside his home; then Santa Claus showed up on a Harley; then Devin's friends came to visit him. (Each was given a teddy bear from the gazillion teddy bears which had been sent to him.)
How good can we get? The folks of Port Clinton have set the bar pretty high in helping a boy with cancer celebrate his favorite holiday: his Savior's birth.
Well, the folks of Port Clinton, the doctors, Devin's parents all did their best. Sadly, their best wasn't good enough to keep him around until the calendar turned December 25. Devin died a few weeks ago. And, for many folks, that means this beautiful story has a sad ending.
Don't you believe it. Don't you believe it for a second. You see, when the doctors and the parents and the beautiful folks of Port Clinton had done all they could ... Jesus picked up. When death entered Devin's room, the Lord of life was there and took that boy home. And this year, while we try to celebrate Christmas, Devin will be with the Christ.
And that never-ending celebration of the Savior will be his favorite holiday of all.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, may we who know and celebrate Your love and sacrifice show it to others whenever we can and in whatever way we can. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries