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A few weeks ago, there was a TV movie on called “A Walk in My Shoes.”  It was the story of an English teacher who lived a busy, uptight life.  She was critical of her daughter and was imposing her hopes and dreams for her daughter onto her daughter in a pressure-filled way.  Her husband, a police officer who risked his life everyday longed to have his wife see him and understand what an average day was like.  She was always too busy and self-absorbed to listen.

She had an English student who was having an unusually difficult time with a writing assignment.  Because he didn’t turn it in on time, he was suspended from the basketball team, something he lived for.  The title of the paper he was to have written?  “A Day That Changed My Life.”  His mom went to school to talk to the English teacher about giving him more time.  The English teacher treated the mother in a rude and insensitive way, basically saying the boy’s unfinished work wasn’t her problem.

As the English teacher drove off from the meeting, an angel appeared on the scene.  Apparently, Heaven thought it was time for an intervention.  The English teacher had a car accident and when she “woke up” she was no longer in her own life, but she was her student’s mother.  For the duration of the movie, she would take a walk in her shoes.

She discovered that the other mother was a single mother of two whose husband was killed in Iraq.  She learned that times had been hard since his death and the oldest boy, her English student, was exhausted from having to work long hours to help support the family in addition to school and basketball.  She experienced the pressure of phone calls from bill collectors and found out the day that changed her student’s life was the day he got into an argument with his dad while his dad was home on leave.  The last words he said to his dad before he was killed were “I hate you.”  The young man had been a tortured soul ever since.  The writing assignment brought all of that pain close to the surface.  The English teacher even went through an eviction from the home the family had rented with the two boys.

During the course of the movie, she softened and transformed into a caring and helpful person.  Of course the whole thing was a sort of dream she had, but being a now caring “in touch” person because she had walked in this less fortunate family’s shoes, she took money she had been saving for a trip overseas for herself and paid a year’s rent for the family, assisted with the English writing assignment and changed the way she treated her family. She was in a position to make a difference not only because she had the money they needed, but because she had walked in their shoes.  She understood their suffering, and it moved her to action.

Not because He needed to learn a lesson, but because God loved us, Jesus, God’s Son, took a walk in our shoes.  God became a man.  Fully Divine, but fully human in that Jesus encountered every challenge, temptation, heartache and pain that accompany the human experience.  God has walked in your shoes. 

He walked in our shoes in order to show us how far God was willing to go to love us, and He walked in shoes we were supposed to walk in order to save us.  Because sin separates us from God, Jesus came to bridge the gap between us and God.  Sin says, “I hate you, God,” and it causes spiritual death and eternal separation from God.   Because of sin, we are evicted from God’s presence.  But praise God, Jesus came to give His life to pay the price for the sin of all mankind so that we could escape that eternal separation.

Because Jesus was and is God and lived a life of perfection, He was in a position to be the sacrifice for our sins as He died on the cross and then rose from the dead victoriously.  Just like the English teacher wrote a check to pay for a dwelling place for the family in need, Jesus signed a check with His own blood to pay the price for you to dwell with God forever and it can start today.

Because He walked in your shoes and because He is God, He knows what you are hiding.  He knows what you are holding onto that is eating away at your heart and mind.  He knows what you are addicted to, what you regret, what makes you weak, and what you cry about whenever you are alone.  He knows why you’re angry.  He knows what scares you, confuses you and what you wish you could escape or change.  He’s here this morning to offer you help.

Christmas peace, love, and joy aren’t great ideas from Hallmark.  They are God’s gifts to a world that needs God.  Jesus is here to offer those things in abundance.  A relationship with God through Christ not only provides eternal peace and the promise of heaven, but that relationship is crucial if you are going to navigate life’s challenges. All you have to do to accept these gifts is to pray a prayer asking God for forgiveness and asking Jesus to come into your heart and life as Savior and Lord.  Let Him not only walk in your shoes, but also let Him carry you this Christmas Season.

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