When my brother and I were growing up, we often went at each other.
We competed in anything we could come up with or we’d just poke one another.
I, being the younger brother, would poke my brother Tom because, well, he was the older brother. It was my job.
One day Tom and I were playing in a hotel swimming pool. My parents were at some conference, so the two of us needed to entertain ourselves at the pool. We had the whole thing to ourselves!
We were making up games as we went along, throwing things into the deep end and seeing who could get them faster or just trying to dunk each other.
We had been playing a long time and I was getting tired but didn’t want to quit.
I decided I should irritate Tom so I did something in the shallow wend to get him to chase me. As I started to get away from him, I ducked under the rope separating the shallow end from the deep end.
Right at the rope line the bottom of the pool took a huge descent to make the water deeper. Right when I got to that spot, I started to sink.
I knew how to swim, but I had become so tired I couldn’t keep my head above water.
I started to panic because all the effort I was giving to get back to the surface wasn’t working. As I flailed under the water, I looked up at the surface of the water and was scared…really scared.
I was going to drown.
In that very moment, I felt a hand violently grab my arm and start to pull me back under the rope to the shallow end.
I got my feet back on the shallow end floor, pushed up, got above the water and breathed a huge breath…and coughed up some water, but I breathed air.
That hand? It was my brother Tom. He saw me start to become helpless in the water and decided he should probably save me or have something to explain to Mom and Dad later.
I looked at him with a mix of fear and tears in my eyes.
He looked at me in all his compassion and said, “You ok?”
I, of course in all my humility, said, “Ya, thanks.”
That was a lot for us to communicate so deeply back then. Then Tom said, “Let’s get out of here and go back to the room.” This is code for “I don’t want to spend the rest of my time saving my little brother in the pool.”
Tom saw me in trouble and on the verge of drowning and said “I gotta do something.”
Isn’t that the message of Christmas?
We were drowning in our own sin and no chance to save ourselves and then God by His own choosing and grace, began a plan to save us by sending Jesus at Christmas to be born, live, die, and rise again!
It’s like He’s reaching in, grabbing us, and pulling us above water so we can breathe again!
When I sing “O Holy Night,” I am always reminded of my love for the air of forgiveness in these lyrics:
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious dawn!
That’s why Christmas is more than just a holiday about a sweet baby in beautiful straw. The passion is way deeper.
We drown without Christmas. We have our head and heart above water because of it!
Glory to God in highest and on earth!!!
God is good all the time!