Advent Reading – December 18, 2017

Altina Wickstrom – Alpha Ministry Team

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Every year at Christmas I watch my favorite movie It’s A Wonderful Life,” the original version with Jimmy Stewart. It is a story of how one person can touch many lives, some of which were profoundly changed.

My “George Bailey” was a young Christian woman named Debbie who attended the same western Washington high school that I did. I was not raised in a Christian home. I knew little of Christianity or God. I was the quiet and angry outcast girl of the school. Debbie a lovely young woman with a beautiful voice and spirit. Even today I marvel at the fact that she would befriend me, and witness to me.

Debbie prayed for me and invited me to church every week for a year. I was not interested, and told her in all sorts of cruel ways that I would not go with her. She did not give up. I finally agreed to go to “get her off my back”, and praise God I did.

Debbie attended a small Evangelical church with a warm and welcoming congregation that frightened me. I waited outside until the music started so I wouldn’t have to talk to any one, then slipped in and sat next to Debbie. The message seemed to be for me and me alone, which shook me to my core. The message played and replayed in my mind over the next week, and I was overwhelmed with questions.

I always found solace in the woods, so I took a walk deep into the forest around my home and there surrendered my life to the Lord. I was transformed in the blink of an eye.  The anger and hate were gone, and I was filled with joy and peace, all thanks to a stubborn friend.

Sometimes I wonder if Debbie had not been put in my path, who would I be. How would I feel given all of what is happening to our society and around the world today, all the hate, violence and sin, not knowing what is to come? Would I be hardened to it, would I ignore it, would I be out for myself and not care about my neighbor, or would I be in despair with no hope?  But praise God I have joy and hope. As a believer I know my Savior will come for me and I will spend eternity with Him.

“For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And we will be with the Lord forever.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

It is a wonderful life being a Christian and knowing what is to come – eternity with our Lord.