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Saturday, December 18, 2010

My Crown Fell Off

The dental hygienist picked at my teeth, buffed them, and flossed. Then she X-rayed. She and a dentist examined the X-rays and informed me I needed a couple of fillings, a root canal, and a new crown. Bad news just before Christmas! I hadn’t suspected any problem with the tooth that needed the root canal and a new crown, but the X-ray provided incontrovertible evidence of decay at the gum level. At dinner that evening further evidence turned up. The old crown fell out of my mouth and landed on my dinner plate.

The next day, I sat in a dentist’s chair for almost three hours while the dentist drilled out decay, performed a root canal, and shaved away some gum tissue to get at decay lurking below the gum line. A staff member installed the fillings and attached a temporary crown where the old crown had fallen off. At first, she thought she could us the old crown as a temporary one, but she quickly abandoned that idea when it fell onto the back of my tongue.

Now I have a better bite, but so does the dentist—right into my savings.

If it hadn’t been for an X-ray, I wouldn’t have realized decay was destroying the affected tooth, but eventually the realization would have struck hard and signaled the end of the tooth. Sin is decay of the soul that affects every human being. Some individuals may not realize they are sinners, and a few may deny the fact altogether. But like an X-ray, the Bible exposes our sin and tells us Jesus came to earth to provide the perfect remedy for sin. When an angel of the Lord informed Joseph that the virgin Mary would bring forth God’s Son, he instructed Joseph to name the baby Jesus, “for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Even Mary was aware that she needed to be saved from sin. She sang, “My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (italics mine; Luke 1:47).

I could tell you how much my dental bill was, but I won’t. Your empathy might spoil your Christmas. Suffice is to say it cost a lot. However, having the decay of sin removed from my soul cost me nothing. But it cost Jesus everything. He purchased my redemption by shedding His blood at the cross.

If you want a condensed, but powerful, version of the Christmas story, read the apostle Paul’s words in Galatians 4:4 and 5: “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”