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FIRST-PERSON: My Prayer for Christmas

EULESS, Texas (BP)–My daughter-in-law just had her second baby girl on December 7. She is a gift from God. She was just over eight pounds and is beautiful.

I’m not only a doting grandfather, though: I’m a grateful and humbled grandfather.

God has blessed Jan and me with eight granddaughters and one grandson. The Scriptures tell us, “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward” (Ps 127:3).

Children are a gift from God. And I can’t think of a better gift to us this time of year. So, with the gift of Ava in the life of our family, I write this column.

I sit with my family and watch them. I see the light of God on their faces. I am pleased, like many of you, to hear the coos of a new little one.

Isn’t it strange thought, though, that over 2000 years ago, another baby cooed at his mother and father? Another baby was born into this world: Jesus.

A column at this time of year necessarily means talking about Jesus’ birth. Yes, it is the Christmas season, a happy time of year. But when I think about Jesus’ birth, I honestly have mixed emotions.

On the one hand, I am grateful for His birth. Because of His birth, all of humanity can have a second birth.

On the other hand, I am extremely saddened by His birth. We tend to forget that Christ’s birth also meant suffering, pain, rejection, and ultimately death.

Oh, not for us. Humanity received the gift. Christ received the penalty of our sin. Christ was born to suffer and die. Now, this reality is not a warm and cozy feeling, but a sober one.

The angels announced to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Lu 2:10-11).

The “good tidings of great joy” is the Advent of Jesus, which would ultimately lead to the Passion of Christ. “Joy to the World” comes through the pain and suffering of our Savior.

The Christ child born leads us to understand what Christ has borne: “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed” (Is 53:5).

It’s no wonder that the angels said, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men” (Lu 2:14). Peace and goodwill came to earth because Christ endured “the chastisement of our peace” (Is 53:5b).

Let us not forget that the gift of joy we experience and celebrate during Christmas came at the cost of a life: the life of Christ. Through His stripes, we have been healed.

God’s good gift to us is His Son. We celebrate His Supreme Gift out of a heart of gratitude. When I look at our beautiful baby Ava, I am reminded God is good.

When we look at the Advent of our Savior, we remember that God is good; but His goodness overcame our sin through the Passion of Christ.

Christmas is a happy time, but let us not be selfish. Let it truly be a time when we follow the model of our Savior.

Through selflessness and giving, He gave Himself to us even though it meant suffering, pain, rejection, and death.

Through selflessness and giving, we give ourselves to Him and to others. By following our Savior, by showing others our Savior, we become a good gift that can bring “peace on earth, goodwill toward men.”

This is what our world needs. This is my prayer for Christmas.
For more resources by Dr. Claude Thomas, visit www.LifePoints.org.

    About the Author

  • Dr. Claude Thomas