UpBuilding Men, Women, and Children in Practical Christianity

December 2002 Monthly Letter

Dear Partner In Ministry,

What will Jesus Christ look like for you this Christmas?

How about a fresh look at the familiar images and symbols!

I John 3:2 says, “We know when He (Jesus) appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him as He is.”

A new vision of Jesus that I would like for us to see this season may be summarized in one word: compassion!

What if I were to say that the most familiar verse in the entire Bible —- John 3:16 — in which we naturally see God’s love, is really a perfect definition of compassion!

It is! Because compassion is “love expressed in concrete action." We see a fresh view of ‘God as He is’ or as a God of compassion in the familiar words, “God so loved that He gave His only begotten Son!”

God didn’t just call out from heaven in a loud angelic voice and say, “World, I love you!” He demonstrated His love by giving Jesus to us! That’s compassion Personified!

Here’s a real life story of how I saw God as compassion in a post Christmas experience! Even though it happened in February 1992, I remember it well because it had a profound impact upon me! That’s what happens when you see God as He is!

On a cold wintry December Sunday, a reserved man who lived in Kentucky, drove many miles to attend a worship service at College Hill Presbyterian Church where I had the wonderful privilege of serving with a compassionate staff from 1972–1989.

Before the worship service began, current congregational “Joys and Concerns” were announced. These included births, anniversaries, hospital updates and deaths.

My mother had just “gone to see God face to face” so her passing was noted as “Ruth Rand, the mother of one of our former pastors, died this week in North Dakota.”

This Kentucky man immediately left the service and quickly drove to my home. As I opened the front door, I saw tears running down his cheeks! He approached me and without saying one word, stretched out his arms and solidly hugged me!

As we wept together, again without any words being communicated, I knew that he knew my pain, sorrow, and grief! In him I saw God as He is! Compassion — “love expressed in the flesh,” “Emmanuel — God with us!”

I hope you see Jesus Christ anew this Christmas. More so, I hope you will reveal to those especially in need, His compassion and let them see Him as He is through you!

Have a compassionate Christmas and thank you for your compassion for this Ministry!


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