We received word last evening that a dear brother, fellow pastor, and friend departed this life and went to be with our Lord. It is with deep sadness that we received this news. We will miss his fellowship and the many good times we had together. But in another sense it makes the celebration we will share this coming Sunday all the more rich with meaning. From the time of our first rebellion the curse of death came upon all mankind. But even as God had to pronounce the consequences of our sin He gave a promise that one day an offspring of the woman would come to crush the head of the serpent, Satan. That promised was fulfilled in the birth of the Christ Child. God, Himself, came to us in the person of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to defeat the power sin, death, and the devil. This infant who lay in a Bethlehem manger went on to make atonement for the sins of all mankind, and to be raised from the dead, defeating its curse, and assuring us of life in Him. We mourn at our loss, and shed our tears. But we rejoice in the sure and certain knowledge of the gift we have been given by the Babe of Bethlehem.