Christmas once again; when we joyfully celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Who is he? Isaiah 9:6 proclaims “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given...and his name shall be called...the mighty God, the heavenly Father...” John 1:1 says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Verse 14 says: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us... the only begotten of the Father...” Why? God had to become flesh to die! He had to shed his own blood! This is the price God himself set for our redemption/salvation and his being willing to pay that price resulted in the birth of the Christ child at Christmas! Called Immanuel. Meaning God with us!

Being known to utter amazing and profound things concerning you and me, it seems he was speaking from his heart, the heart of God, to our hearts! Saying (John 10:10) “… I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Saying, in effect, he came to offer the remedy to the scourge and surety of death! The natural life, suffering death and dying, is both fleeting and temporary. Therefore, Jesus is not speaking of it here. Rather, he is saying he came to give us something we didn’t/don’t already have: life! (never-ending)! The free gift of God was revealed in Romans 6:23; therefore, we will have life forever!

As to “abundantly;” abundant means: existing in plentiful supply; abounding. An adjective; it here describes the subject: the new life! We do have spiritual and other blessings in this life but it here seems opposed to prosperity; for prosperity means: being successful, flourishing, material well-being. Maybe a care and problem-free life now. Therefore, “abundantly” is speaking to the subject: eternal life, not of “more of,” “better than” or even happiness in this temporal life. Hence, “abundantly” is referring to the plentiful, abounding supply of what we don’t have in the now. It’s what he came to give us! Eternal life!

Knowing of our pain, struggles and sorrows, Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, 29, “Come unto me...and I will give you unto our souls.” Amazingly, in John 16:33, he said; “ this world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Also, saying in Revelation 2:9; “I know thy works, tribulation and poverty, but thou art rich!” The more abundant life is achieved in this life in part only, however, in the fact that he will never leave or forsake us. Thus our greatest happiness, glory and joy is in our walk and talk with him!

Jesus said (John 10:25, 26), “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and...shall never die.” In effect, guaranteeing to those who believe; are saved/born again, the abundant, never-ending life! Saying in John 14:2, 3, “I go to prepare a place for you...I will come again and receive you unto myself...”

Clearly a “done deal.” The sealing of the deal!

Forever in the place he is preparing; an abundant life guaranteed by our eternal guarantor Jesus Christ, being sealed in his blood!

This then, is the absolute and sure hope and promise of Christmas!

The Rev. Jess Shifflett is a Front Royal resident.

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