A Letter to the Christ Child

An honest conversation with the Christ of Christmas

Dear Jesus,

This weekend, as over two billion of your followers prepare to celebrate your birthday,
I find myself attempting to manage a myriad of emotions.
I love this time of year. The twinkling lights, festive traditions and familiar music bring out the child in me.
I’m reminded of simpler times with grandparents and cousins and a sense that all was well with the world.

But this Christmas season, it’s not just my inner child that cannot be contained.
My married daughter is in the ninth month of her pregnancy.
Within a few weeks my wife and I will become first-time grandparents.

Jesus, as I look at my adult child, I can’t help but picture your precious mother on the threshold of giving birth.
Her face, like my daughter’s, must have glowed with the radiant beauty unique to expectant moms.
I can hardly wait to hold that little one.
Still, this Christmas finds me perplexed with the problems of the world into which my grandchild will be born.
The spirit of giving has been replaced by a spirit of taking.
Countless individuals are taking to Facebook to demean those who disagree with their political perspective.
Too often Facebook “friends” are often anything but.

The season surrounding your birthday has often been called “the most wonderful time of the year.”
But this year it’s less than wonderful.
Although we sing about a joyful world filled with silent nights
and recite verses that speak of “peace on earth goodwill to men,” we know better.
In the country in which I live, political division and racial prejudice dominate the daily headlines.
And that’s not all. Homelessness is on the rise both at home and abroad.
So are the growing number of refugees seeking a safe place to raise their children.
Add to that the terrorists and delusional dictators who hold our hope for peace hostage.
Yes, the thirst for power and the appetite for domination resemble the Roman Empire into which you were born.

Jesus, you certainly must relate to the world in which I live.
Contrary to the lyrics of that popular carol, I’m guessing you didn’t really sleep in heavenly peace
as your mother struggled to comfort you in that cold and wet barn smelling of cow dung.
How could you not identify with the homeless population in my city
where makeshift shelters dominate the underpasses of the interstate?
You understand only too well the fear and hate associated with terrorism and political exile.
Shortly after you were born, a blood-thirsty tyrant blindsided young parents in Bethlehem murdering their helpless children.
Your parents fled with you from a terrorist plot as they sought asylum in Egypt.
They had no idea where they were going or what awaited them when they got there.
No wonder you identify with the plight of refugees around the world
who have left their home countries in search of a life free from war and prejudice.

Being homeless and fleeing from terrorism, it’s no wonder you have a heart for the dispossessed and the marginalized among us. Having been welcomed by strangers in a strange land,
your experience inspires us to be willing to do the same.
Pondering the world of fear and hate into which my grandchild will soon be born,
the child within me begins to kick and scream in protest.

I refuse to believe that we can’t do better as travel companions on spaceship Earth.
After all, the place where I first came across your birth announcement
clued me into the fact that every man, woman and child has been created in the image of our Creator.
There is something in us worthy of redemption.

Come to think of it, Jesus, isn’t that why you were born in the first place?

An Honest Christian