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Lynn Harold Hough was a Methodist pastor in the early part of the twentieth century and became the President of Northwestern University. In 1908 he became the first to write a “Pledge of Allegiance to the Christian Flag. Once when he was speaking to a conference of pastor in Los Angeles he told this story: “A group of men, at work in a coal mine, were trapped deep in the earth because of a cave-in of a shaft. Their only hope lay in rescue from the outside.” [--W. T. Purkiser, ed. Exploring Our Christian Faith (Kansas City, Mo.: Beacon Hill Press, 1966), 270.]

That, my brothers and sisters is the message we have been proclaiming during the entire Season of Advent. Just like those coal mines who depended upon rescue from the outside, you and I as sinners needed Someone from the outside to redeem us from sin and death, and that is the reason Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. As the trapped miners could do nothing to save themselves, so there was and there still is nothing you and I can every possibly do to save ourselves from sin and death. This is a picture of grace.

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