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The Cost of Christmas

December 29, 2011

Today, we remember what it cost God to be with us in world like this.

On October 21, in one of the most crime-ridden neighbourhoods in Brooklyn, New York, 34-year-old woman, Zurana Horton, was killed while trying to shield children from a hail of bullets from a sniper. Horton grabbed her child and several others, and put herself in front of them “to protect them as the shots were fired,” said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.

An 18-year old male confessed to the murder. He was reportedly aiming for an 11-year old girl whom he was in a dispute with over a cell-phone. The 11-year old girl survived an injury on her arm and graze wound on her face.

Zurana Horton could have taken her own child and run for safety. Neither of them were the target, so she would have been safe. But she chose to stay and shield all in harm’s way. For her it meant a bullet. For Jesus, it meant a Cross.

In John Chapter 10, Jesus spoke about the difference between the Shepherd of the sheep and a hired hand. A hired hand, Jesus said, sees the wolf coming and flees. But the Good Shepherd stays with the sheep and lays down his life for them. He then said, “I am the Good Shepherd, and I lay down my life for the sheep”  (verses 12-14).

This is the love story of Christmas.

I pray that this Christmas our hearts are moved by this story of the One who loves us so much that he chose to be with us and remain with us, whatever the cost; to do whatever it would take to be with us always, as our Emmanuel.

(adapted from my Christmas Eve sermon)

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For articles about Zurana Horton’s act of sacrificial love, please click here, here, and here.)

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