My Perfect Savior —
I love this picture of us four Case kids! It was taken in 1959 for our family Christmas card.
Some of my fondest childhood memories are of Christmas time, but none of them have anything to do with Christ — because when I was young my father kept himself and his family far away from God. He thought he needed to become perfect before God would accept him.
As a result, I remember only one Sunday that my family attended church when I was a little girl. I came home with a wooden key chain bob that said, “God is love” — a Bible verse reminder I treasured and carried with me for years.
When I was eight or nine, my parents allowed my brother and sister and me to go to a neighborhood Bible Club. The guest teacher told the most wonderful Bible stories with flannel pictures.
I remember being one of the first children each week to repeat the Bible verse perfectly, and so was quite surprised when the teacher said one day, “Susan, you know all the words, but you don’t understand their meaning.”
The following year, in the same Bible Club, I remember hearing that no one could be perfect. Again, I thought that this was a strange thing to teach, because I was sure I could be perfect if I just tried hard enough. And so that was my goal.
Each morning, I would put on my best behavior and try with all my might to not do anything wrong. But every day by 9 or 10 am, I realized I had done something selfish and would have to postpone the start of my experiment until the next morning. This went on for a few weeks until I decided the teacher must be right — I could not be 100% perfect.
At the age of 12, after my grandma died, my mother started taking us to church every Sunday. There in church, I got it! I could not be perfect, but Jesus could. That is why he died on the cross. He was punished in my place, so that I could be forgiven of every selfish, sinful thing I had ever done or would ever do.
I finally understood! Jesus was not someone to be avoided or feared or performed for — he was my Savior to be embraced and thanked and loved. I gladly humbled myself and asked him to forgive my sins and come into my heart.
Thank you, Jesus, that I don’t have to keep trying to be perfect. Thank you for dying on the cross to forgive my sins — it was a very unselfish thing to do. Thank you so much for being my Savior. I love you. Amen.