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December 20, 2014

“If I had not come….”John 15:22a

Warmest Christmas greetings to our friends our co-laborers in Christ!

Anastasia and I reach out to each of you with the precious love of our Lord Jesus Christ. And it is our hope that this will be the most blessed Christmas you will ever have as we prepare to celebrate the greatest gift ever given to the human race…the birth of Christ Jesus!

Has the thought ever crossed you mind what this world would have been like if our Savior would have never come? What our country; what our communities or what our personal lives would have been like without our Redeemer?

I am reminded of what Mrs. Charles E. Cowman wrote decades ago concerning a Christmas card published with the title, “If Christ had not come.” The card portrayed a minister falling asleep in his study on an early Christmas morning and dreaming of a world into which Jesus had never come.

In his dream he found himself looking throughout his home for the Christmas stockings filled with goodies, the Christmas tree that was surrounded with gifts, the wreaths with holly…but there were none. He rushed out to the street and discovered that there was no church building with its spire pointing towards heaven. He then returned to his study and discovered that every book about the Savior was missing. 

Momentarily, he heard a knocking at the front door. There stood a young lad pleading with the pastor to come to the aid of his poor dying mother. He hastened to her bedside and said, “I have something here that will comfort you.” When he opened his Bible to a familiar passage of Scripture, he discovered the Book ended with Malachi. There was no Gospel, no Good News of hope or salvation… so, he could only bow his head and weep with her in bitter despair.

With the dream continuing, two days later he stood beside her coffin and conducted her funeral service. However, he could give no message of consolation, no word of a glorious Resurrection, no eternal Home in heaven, no hope…but only a long farewell that ended with “dust to dust and ashes to ashes.” He then realized that “Jesus had not come” and then burst into tears and painful weeping.

Suddenly he awoke from his tormenting dream and burst out with great shouts of joy, praise and thanksgiving as he heard his choir singing from the church house next door:

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold Him, born the King of Angles,
O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

My friends let us rejoice and be glad for He has come and to all who repent and believe on His Name will be given a new nature, a transformed heart and the certainty of eternal life! Yes, you’ll be given a new song as well:

Dear Jesus I love you, to You I belong
For You first loved me and gave me a song;
A song of rejoicing and wonderful peace,
A song of redemption which never will cease.

I worship You, Master, Your cause will I serve
For You gave me pardon I did not deserve.
I sing of Your mercy, Your death in my place;
I praise Your compassion and glorious grace.

Dear Savior, I thank You for dying for me
And praise You for rising, this sinner to free.
Your power is matchless, Your grace is so vast;
My song of Your goodness forever will last.

But daily, O Shepherd, I take up my cross
And praying, I ask You, consume my soul’s dross.
Then deep grows my longing to see Your dear face,
To sing with perfection my song of Your grace.

Almighty Creator, most glorious King,
I’ll join heaven’s throng there forever to sing.
You only are worthy, O Lamb on the Throne,
For there’s no Redeemer but Christ, You alone.

In closing, our hearts are filled with immeasurable gratitude and deep appreciation for friends and co-laborers who have journeyed with us for years through the mountains and valleys of life, praying fervently and sacrificially encouraging this work. Thank you ever so much and may our precious Lord Jesus grant you much favor with a celebratory Christmas Season and a most blessed and prosperous  and healthy New Year! 

May all glory redound to Him,

Richard & Anastasia

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