December 28, Friday

Allegory of Salvation by Antonius Heusler (ca. 1555), National Museum in Warsaw.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

By grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.

Psalm 121:1.2; Ephesians 2:8.

With his six-year-old son a breeder of reindeer set off in a motorized sleigh to repair some “kators”, Laplanders’ summer dwellings. Engine failure forced them to take refuge in a hut. When their provisions ran out, they attempted to reach another refuge on foot, but in their exhaustion they soon sank down in a snowdrift. Shortly before nightfall a helicopter loomed up above them, searching the region for them. The men on board looked for any sign of life with their eyes fixed on the icy expanse. It was impossible to distinguish father and child numb with cold and almost buried under the snow. But suddenly the young boy, hearing the noise of the rotor, jumped up gesticulating and shouting, “Dad, we are saved!” Immediately located and secured, the two escaped death, which would have overtaken them a short while later.

So long as we are far from God, are we not like that father and son in their helplessness? Holy Scripture tells us that we are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), and that the whole world is in the clutches of the wicked one (cf. 1 John 5:19). But One, far above, has seen our plight: Jesus Christ. He came to seek and to save the lost. He died in our stead to free us from all that held us captive and far from God. He gives life to those who believe in His Name. God does not abandon us to a hopeless fate. A confident look towards Him can give us this assurance: I am saved!

Image: By Circle of Lucas Cranach the Elder – Own work (BurgererSF)Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Kassel, Public Domain,