Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." Acts 16:30-31
Christmas 1998 was not going to be an especially good holiday for the Klaushaus.
For the first time, in almost a quarter of a century, it was not going to be possible for us to be together with all of our children. We had always known that day would come, but we didn't expect it to come quite so soon.
Our son, Kurt, was student teaching in Hungary and was not going to be able to be with us.
There was going to be an empty chair at our Christmas table. That was hard. What was harder was knowing he would be celebrating Jesus' birth all by himself in a distant land. Oh, I had investigated the possibility of trying to fly him home, but the cost of a plane ticket was simply too great. Pamie was making the best of things, but some of her holiday sparkle was gone.
I had talked about the change with some of my church friends, and they were sympathetic. Everyone was sympathetic, except for one. That friend was more than sympathetic. Very quietly, she came to me and said, "Pastor, you know I've been doing a lot of flying back and forth to Germany for the last year or two."
I knew that.
She continued, "I've been doing a lot of flying, and I've got a whole bunch of frequent flyer miles. I'd like to give you some of those miles to bring Kurt home."
With her generosity, plans were made to do just that.
Oh, one other thing: I didn't tell Pam. I just walked around with an idiotic smile on my face. Finally came the day ... the day before Christmas. Our doorbell kept ringing as people from the parish stopped by with a gift, or a card, or to thank us, or wish us well. Wonderful people, wonderful.
Then, around ten o'clock in the evening there was another ring ... too late for most members to be paying a visit.
I called out to Pam, "Honey, can you get that? I'm busy." She went, and I, out of sight, followed and watched. Pam turned on the porch light, and froze. Really, she froze. She couldn't believe her son was home. Her family was together because of the gracious kindness of a very special lady. The passing of years has made her gift to us no less special.
Now it occurs to me that if the Klaushaus can be grateful to a lady for a gift made almost 30 years ago, we Christians ought to find it easy to be thankful for God's Son who has, through His gracious act of deliverance, brought us back into the family of the Father.
His willingness to take our sins upon Himself and fulfill the Laws we have broken have given us a gift, which should never tarnish or fade. It is truly the one gift we have received that will always keep on giving.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, we are unworthy sinners who deserve no place at the heavenly banquet table. Still, because of Jesus' life, death and resurrection, we are forgiven and welcomed home, never to be separated. For this we give thanks in Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries