I received a devotion today via email that contained an excerpt from L. B. E. Cowman’s classic book “Streams in the Desert,” originally published in 1918. She tells of a Christmas story that she read entitled “If Christ Had Not Come.” The story is based on the passage in John 15:22, where Jesus speaks these words, “If I had not come.” It is sort of a twist on the story in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” where George Bailey wonders how life would be if he had not ever been born.
In the story that Cowman shares, a minister falls asleep in his study on Christmas morning and dreams of a world into which Jesus had never come. He walks through his home, but he saw no stocking hung on the chimney, no Christmas tree, no wreaths. No Christ to comfort and gladden hearts and to save us from our sins. No church bells ringing in the countryside.
The doorbell rings and a messenger gives him a note to visit a friend’s poor dying mother. When he arrives at their home, he realizes he has no words of comfort for him. No gospel, no promise of hope and salvation. All he could do was to weep with his friend in utter despair.
Two days later the minister stands beside her coffin to conduct her funeral. But again, he realized there was nothing he could say. No message of comfort, no words of eternal life, no mansion in heaven awaiting her. There was only “dust to dust, ashes to ashes” and a final goodbye.
Then suddenly the minister woke up from his dream to hear a song of joy and praise as he heard his choir singing these words in his nearby church:
O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem! Come and behold Him, born the King of angels, O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!
This Advent season let us rejoice in all the blessings we have in Christ, through the babe in the manger, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Let the blessings of comfort, peace, love, joy, hope and the promise of eternal life flow to us in abundance so that we are ever grateful for the gift that God gives us and all humankind at Christmas.