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Echoes From the Campfire
December 11, 2017

"[He] decided that he would never ignore Christmas again, and not just the date on the calendar."
--C.J. Petit (The Second Star)

"All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’)."
--Isaiah 7:14 (NLT)
"Then I blew out the candles, one by one, until there was only one left. If it has been the evening star, I'd have made a wish, but it wasn't a star, so I blew it out, too. Anyway, it was too late for wishes."
--Jesse James (Christmas, 1864)

In this wonderful time of the year there are many out there hurting. Some are good at disguising it, while others don't care and have seemed to have lost all hope. Jesse James seemed to be this way back in 1864; he was only 17. "Too late for wishes," yes, but it is not too late for the reality of Christ to come into someone's life.
There are those who are suffering the pain of a broken heart, the pain of a broken marriage and family, the pain that comes from emotional abuse, the pain that comes from moving away from God, the pain that makes the body ache. There are all sorts of pain. I read the following from Dave Roever's newsletter and want to pass it on.

"People often relate pain as being punishment or judgment from God. The reality is--pain is a gift from God. Without pain we would not know how to interpret the aching arm and sharp discomfort in the chest and relate it to the possibility of a heart attack. Without pain we would not know that the severe ache in our abdomen could signal that our appendix had ruptured and could be systemic."

People take pain as punishment or judgment when actually it should be a warning to bring us back to God. Man has choices in life, as Jesse James did. It is never too late to come back to the Lord; never too late to bring our pain to Him. We have a choice. The last Christmas before he was killed Jesse wrote,

"I get so lonely.... Sometimes I'll just sit, oiling my pistol and wiping it down. Counting the number of shells I have left. Sometimes I think that's about all I have left: bullets."
--Jesse James (Christmas, 1881)

Jesse was a man that had knowledge of Jesus Christ, but never accepted Him as Lord. Jesse chose the way of perdition and his last Christmas note shows a man who has pain, yet will not turn away from the lifestyle that caused the pain. Jesus is always there, waiting to heal our pain.

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