A blooming rose

I remember it like it was yesterday. We were sitting in our apartment in Ankara, Turkey. The month was April, but it had just snowed! We spent two, short months in this precious country shortly after the first Iraq War. Knowing the time was short, we worked hard to love on and share with the Iraqi refugees in the city, but the man sitting in our living room that day was from Syria. He’d been studying medicine in Turkey, and his heart was open to the Lord.

Raouf shared with him, and he prayed to receive Christ as his Lord and Savior. Though he seldom talked about a person’s feelings after being saved, Raouf did ask this man what he was feeling. It was dark outside by this time, and the man said, “it’s like a flower has bloomed in my heart. Everything is lightened.”

Now, as I look at the words of the 15th Century German hymn, Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,* I cannot help but think of that man.

This Flow’r, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air, Dispels with glorious splendor, the darkness ev’rywhere. True man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us, and lightens ev’ry load.

May you be the sweet fragrance of Christ to others this Christmas season, as you share the difference he has made — not just by coming into the world 2,000 years ago, but by coming into your heart and life.

Pray for those who have yet to enjoy the beauty of that Eternally Blooming Rose.

Merry Christmas

*WORDS: 15th Century German; st 1,2 tr. Theodore Baker, 1851-1934; st. 3, tr. Harriet Krauth Spaeth, 1845-1925 MUSIC: Geistliche Kirchengesäng, 1599; harm. Michael Praetorius, 1571-1621.


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