Last week, I had the honor of officiating my grandfather’s graveside service at Willamette National Cemetery. He was a 98-year-old veteran who served in the Navy during World War 2.
It was fascinating to me as a kid to hear the stories of my grandpa firing guns off the ships at enemy planes. At the time, though, I didn’t really understand the realities of war and all that my grandpa experienced in combat. It wasn’t until I was older and was in the service myself that I realized the sacrifice that my grandpa had made for his country.
I’m extremely proud of my grandpa and the time that he served in the Navy. He chose to go and fight for his country, hoping to make the world a better place for the generations to follow.
And I think it’s important that we don’t forget the sacrifices that he and so many others have made over the years. They put their lives on the line so that we might be able to experience freedom.
As I think of Grandpa’s sacrifice and the sacrifice others made, it reminds me of someone else who sacrificed His life for others. It reminds me of our Savior—Jesus Christ. In John 15:13 it tells us: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
Now, my family was very fortunate that the sacrifices my grandpa made didn’t end up costing him his life. Because the truth is that, if they had, I wouldn’t be here today. I’m thankful that God’s hand protected my grandpa as he served and sacrificed all those years ago.
The sacrifice of Jesus, however, did cost Him His life. He came to lay down His life for the sake of others. Jesus showed us the Great Love that John wrote about, as He laid down His life for all of us.
As we head into 2023, my prayer for ALL OF US is that we truly understand Jesus’ love for EACH OF US. And I pray that we would seek to love Him and to love others in the same way.