John 14:5-6
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 11:23-27
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;  and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

There is perhaps no other place on earth where the difference between a believer and an unbeliever is starker than a funeral home.  The only thing worse for unbelievers mourning the death of a loved one is facing their own death.  As Woody Allen wrote, “It’s not that I fear death.  I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”  You can try to make light of it, but you have to face the fact that “Life’s ultimate statistic is the same for all people.  One out of one dies.” (George Bernard Shaw)

Great, you’re probably thinking, two days before Christmas and he’s depressing me.  Thanks a lot.  I mention this so that against the backdrop of death we see life as the precious gift it is, as diamonds shine more brightly against a dark background.  When Jesus told the disciples that he is the life, he was not exaggerating; he had already proved it!  They had seen him raise Lazarus back to life (John 11:1-44).  Even before he raised Lazarus, Martha confessed her belief that Jesus was indeed the Messiah who was to come.  As Jesus had earlier told the people, he came that we might have life, and have it to the full.  Not only does he give the precious gift of life: he does so lavishly.

Yes, that baby in the manger is the one true and eternal king, before whom all must bow in subjection, even death itself (I Corinthians 15:25-26).  As poet and pastor John Donne wrote, “One short sleep past, we wake eternally And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.”

Have you taken hold of the life that is life indeed?  Have you put your trust in Jesus, the resurrection and the life?  Do you understand the truth that Jesus is the only way to life?  I pray that as you celebrate this Christmas you will rejoice in the birth of the Savior who loved you enough to die for you, so that he might give you abundant life now, and life eternal.  Rejoice with Thomas Watson in the blessed truth that “We are more sure to arise out of our graves than out of our beds.”  Hallelujah!  What a Savior!

Thou art the Life: the rending tomb
proclaims thy conquering arm,
and those who put their trust in thee
nor death nor hell shall harm.

(George W. Doane)

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Risen with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

(Charles Wesley)

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