The viral photo of Sully, a service dog, lying in front of the president’s casket, touched our hearts. The caption read, “Mission Complete. #Remembering41”.

Sometimes a picture does speak a thousand words.

The country will pause from the Christmas season to honor the life of our 41st president this week. I’m praying the service and the media broadcasts will cause people to think about their own lives, with a Christmas perspective. All of us are born with a mission to complete. The greatest satisfaction of life is knowing we have accomplished what the Lord intended us to do.

When Barbara Bush passed away, I remember thinking it wouldn’t be long before her husband joined her in heaven. My grandpa died eight months after my grandma passed. One of the great blessings of getting older is gaining a better perspective on the important things of this life. Heaven looks more like home when the people you love are living there.

The president told his best friend, Jim Baker, that he wanted to go to heaven. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

I think President Bush desired to spend Christmas in heaven and God said, “Okay. We can do that.”

The Mission of Christmas

I was considering the Christmas story with a “Mission Complete” mindset. God had a great purpose for everyone that first Christmas, and they accomplished their mission.

  • Mary was preparing to be a wife when God asked her to be a mother too. She gave birth to the Messiah that first Christmas. Mission complete.
  • Elizabeth told Mary what she needed to hear. Those words of encouragement brought Mary great joy, when she most needed a strong faith. Mission complete.
  • Joseph planned to quietly divorce Mary when he found she was with child. Instead, he obeyed the angel, took Mary as his wife, and kept her safe. Mission complete.
  • The shepherds planned to look after their sheep that night. Instead, they saw a great light and went to look for a baby lying in a manger. They completed their mission by telling others what they had seen.
  • The wise men spent months following a star, in search of the king. When they bowed before their Messiah and honored him with their gifts, their mission was complete.
  • The angel Gabriel made sure that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus escaped to Egypt. The Messiah would live to become a man. Mission complete.

I found myself asking the Lord, “What is my ‘mission’ this Christmas season?”

Your Mission

There are always a lot of things that need to get done. But, I think President Bush would tell us the “whats” aren’t as important as the “whos.”

Maybe the question should be, “Who is my mission this year?”

I want to be able to say, “Mission complete.”

An important life will be remembered and honored this Christmas season. The grave of President Bush will be next to his wife and daughter’s graves at his Presidential Library in College Station. But his life is with them in heaven. Imagine their unique joy this Christmas as they celebrate the holiday with Robin again, after so many years apart.

Who has been on your mind as you read these words?

Jesus told his disciples, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Let’s spend some time listening for that voice this Christmas season and working to obey his calling. It would be a blessing to pack up the Christmas decorations in a few weeks knowing our holiday is over and that mission is complete.

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