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The greatest gift

“He’s so beautiful,” I whispered under my breath.

I’m sure these words must’ve been whispered over the tiny baby Jesus that first Christmas.

But my thoughts weren’t immediately on Jesus one night more than three years ago as I looked in on my sleeping son, 19-month-old Benjamin Brian. There he lay in his crib wrapped up all snug in his blankets, quiet and peaceful.

And as I looked down on my son, I remembered the first time I saw

him. That time, too, he was still. However, that moment was anything but peaceful.

When Ben was born, the only detection of life in his limp, purple body was a faint heartbeat. Our son would not breathe. As the doctor and nurses whisked him away, my wife, Pam, and I were left alone together and realized Ben might not survive. We shared a sense of complete and utter helplessness. The only thing we could do was pray.

Taking Pam’s hand in mine, I began speaking out loud to my God, “Lord Jesus, he’s in Your hands—we put him completely in Your hands. It’s Your will Lord—Your will.”

About a minute later, the doctor came back into the room and gave us the most glorious news I’d ever heard.

He said our boy had begun breathing. Then I heard a cry, one that our ears had been itching to hear since he had entered the world. What a miracle! What a gift from God!

Today as I look down at Ben’s sweet, boyish face, it’s hard to believe we almost lost him. We discovered after we named Ben that the doctor who delivered him has a son named Ben, and the nurse has a son named Brian. How appropriate!

About six and a half years ago, I entrusted my life to Christ Jesus. And ever since then, a once vacant spot in my soul has been filled with the incredible grace of the Holy Spirit. The Christ-child is the most generous gift giver of all, a divine person who gives for all eternity.

The Scriptures call Him “Immanuel,” which means, “God with us.” He was conceived by God’s Holy Spirit in a virgin named Mary.

John, a disciple of Christ, wrote that this person was God manifested in human form. He gave up His heavenly throne for a lowly stable, “became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” (John 1:1-2,14). He came so that through Him we can receive the greatest gift of all: everlasting life.

A fine example of the joy spread by the babe celebrated at Christmas is in Romans 9:5, where it says Christ is “God over all, forever praised!”

Isaiah 9:6 tells us that this child “will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Ever-lasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

So why not come and adore the Christ-child this Christmas and experience His peace, a peace that surpasses all understanding?

Several Christmases ago I saw a nativity scene that made me take a second look. A kneeling Santa was exchanging a gift with the baby Jesus. Do you suppose Santa was receiving his generosity from the greatest gift-giver of all?

Jesus truly is the reason for the season.

Happy birthday, Jesus; and a Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

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About the author

Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson is a freelance writer from New York Mills, Minn.