Pointing the Way

Today has been a weepy day for me. (Note:  I started this post on Monday, February 9th.  Just finishing it now, ten days later — I couldn’t quite process it all to get this written).

We found out that a dear friend of ours from our LA days has passed away.

Last week we received an email that our friend Kathe had stage four cancer that had spread in her abdomen and brain.  I was pretty devastated.  I wrote a letter to her that next hour and mailed it off.  Then a few days later I tried to call her.  I was excited because I was hoping to visit her during an upcoming trip to the area where she was hospitalized.  But she never got my messages – she died just a few hours before I left them, I think.

As Eric and I were processing, we were so thankful for a serendipitous visit when we happened to be going through LA when she was on a business trip there (she had moved to TX quite a few years ago).  And we remembered an email that she had sent to Eric about a year ago.  What was memorable was that Kathe rarely emailed us.  So we knew this was important to her.

Hi Eric,
I was in my office last night cleaning out a few things and came across a booklet called “O Come Let Us Adore Him” that is a series of Meditations for Advent.  There’s no date on it, bus Asian Access must have sent it to me years ago.  It looks like a picture of Olivia on the back of the pamphlet.
I didn’t read it when I received it, but as I was tossing things in the trash last night, I stopped to read the meditation you wrote called “Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus”.  What a wonderful and inspiring message you gave in this writing.  It moved me greatly.  And I had to write to you and tell you how much your writing had moved me.  Thank you. (The booklet is no longer headed for the trash.)
I hope you and Sue and the family are all doing well.  I think of you and Sue often.
Love,
Kathe
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Portions of Eric’s Christmas devotional from 2010:

Day 4: Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus

A crack in the sky appeared. A sliver of neon blue light poured out from it. It happened on the day of the annual sports festival at our son Owen’s school, a highly anticipated and highly attended event in our community. The action on the sports field that afternoon was already in full swing. As the colors of the celestial display slowly morphed from bright blue to pink then to orange, more and more eyes turned heavenward until eventually all sports festival related activities had ceased.

My attention was diverted away from the amazing spectacle by the reactions of my fellow bystanders. Though we were all awestruck by the event, the people whose comments I heard fell into two divergent groups. Some were delighted, “How beautiful!,” they exclaimed, while others shuddered, “I’m afraid.”

As I stood there lost in my wonderment, I could not keep my self from asking, “Is this it?” Could this really be the day of our Lord’s return as described in Matthew 24:30 and elsewhere, with Jesus appearing in the sky coming on the clouds in power and great glory. “Is this it?” Was this really it for the Japanese people? Would this be all the souls we will have to offer our Lord?

Despite the excitement and expectation of the moment I found myself hoping for more time. After ten minutes or so the light began to fade and with it the hope of flying in the air with my Lord that day. But what stuck was this renewed sense of urgency.

Just as the herald angel proclaimed it on that very first Christmas night, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord,” so too must we continue to point the way toward our Savior Jesus for those who are still in need of rescue.

In this season of advent, as we look forward with great anticipation to the celebration of Christ’s first coming, let it cause us to joyfully long for the imminent day of his return. And let it also serve to remind us of the grave task that remains before us all until then. For on that day there will surely be two very different groups of people: those for whom hope will be finally realized and those for whom all hope will be utterly lost.

Eric Takamoto, Missionary, Sanda, Japan

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Good words at Advent, and now as well.

 

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