I’ve been very thankful this year for the re-opening of international borders. What a joy to be able to meet again face-to-face and share a warm embrace with colleagues and friends in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and other parts of the South Pacific. I had missed these in-person connections enormously.
While I was in Papua New Guinea, in the Eastern Highlands Simbu Mission, there was one personal encounter I will never forget. After speaking at the Kama church in Goroka a man who I had never met, waited around until everyone else had greeted me at the end of the worship. He had tears in his eyes as he said to me, “I was a trainee for the fire brigade, and I pulled your father out of the wreckage.” During the meeting I had reminded them that my father was one of four survivors of an Adventist Mission plane crash in Goroka in 1973. Tragically, four lives were lost. This man helped save my father’s life. He bravely risked his own life to help my dad. Meeting him was incredibly emotional.
His amazing act of selflessness got me thinking of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. Jesus left the safety of eternal bliss and risked everything to come to this Earth as a tiny baby. The Creator became a creature. There were no guarantees that He would see His Father again, yet He was willing to take the risk because He loves us. Jesus could have summoned a heavenly being to pull Him out of the wreckage of this Earth. But, instead, He willingly gave up His life for you and for me.
As we come to the end of another year, let’s continue to give thanks for the selfless sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf and for His continued presence in our lives. Jesus’ love is a message of hope that we can share with those around us this season.