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Illustration: Christmas—Gift of Eternity

One Christmas in a small town, there was a family of three people—a mother, a father and their daughter. It had been a family of four. Their son and brother died at the end of August. The family had a difficult time processing its grief.

The father of that family was postmaster at the local post office. The day before Christmas Eve, he was going through some of the mail that had come in, and there were several letters addressed to Santa Claus. One letter in particular caught his attention. The handwriting was strangely familiar. It was his daughter's. Sure enough it bore their return address. Realizing she had already written Santa, his curiosity got the best of him and he opened it. This is what he read:

"Dear Santa. Things have not been well at our house since my little brother died. We are all so unhappy. When I try to talk to Daddy about it, the only thing he can say is that 'only eternity will change it.' I don't know what eternity is, but if you have any extra eternities, would you please leave one at our house on Christmas Eve?"

The father realized what had happened. He learned something from his daughter. He went home that day a different person, realizing that even in death life really is wonderful in Jesus Christ. When he got home, his little girl noticed her daddy had received his present of eternity the day before Christmas Eve, on Dec. 23.

In Jesus Christ, the One about whom Isaiah proclaimed, God has opened the doors of eternity and has revealed to us His presence, love and grace forever. Let us respond with courage and come as faithful ones, joyful and triumphant.

There is plenty of eternity to go around—enough for you and me and for everybody in the world. So let's respond. I invite you to receive again or for the first time your personal gift of eternity. Your life never will be the same.