Dave Altman loved raising roses, emblems of life’s beauty and thorny suffering.

When Dad was a young husband and father, KORT radio station played this tune: “The Yellow Rose of Texas.” It reminds me still of Dad’s beloved blonde bride, Joyce Altman. Mom died Oct. 30, 2014. That year at Christmastime, Dad and I sat in easy silence at his back door. He asked quietly, “How are you handling this grief over your mother’s death?” Because of the faith in Christ he and Mom gave me, I answered, “I’ve never wanted to go to Heaven as much as I do now.” Dad nodded approval. That remained our destination—Heaven—our hoped-for-home, fulfilled for him Jan. 25. This Christmas, Dad is with Mom.

Dad trusted Christ, “the ever-blooming Rose” Isaiah foretold, the Savior symbolized in Solomon’s poetic-prophetic Song of Songs—Christ who suffered and sacrificed Himself for His bride, the Church—for all who believe He died and rose for them.

Seventy-five years ago, the world witnessed reflections of Christ’s suffering in “The White Rose,” a small band of German students peacefully resisting Hitler.

Sophie Scholl was born May 9, 1921, in Forchtenberg, Germany, baptized into Christ and—along with her older brother, Hans—raised in the Christian faith. Their parents, Robert and Magdalena Scholl, loved God and country enough to resist tyranny. Robert was sent to prison twice for publicly criticizing Hitler. Sophie and Hans worked in the White Rose non-violent resistance group that knew Hitler was exterminating Jews. Sophie, Hans, and Christoph Probst were caught distributing anti-Hitler leaflets on campus, charged with treason, and in a mock trial, condemned to death by guillotine. Before their execution that same day, they were allowed a brief visit from their parents and a chaplain. As Sophie was taken away, she proclaimed: “How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause? Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action.”

Gary Altman


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