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Dear Brethren,

It is once again time for us to listen to what the angels told the shepherds, “A savior has been born unto you today.” There could be nothing more inspiring than this: a savior is born to us! Christmas is all about and around this Savior. By being close to Him, everything and everyone becomes meaningful and beautiful. Observe the Nativity scene: by holding the Infant Jesus, Mary of Nazareth becomes the Mother of God. In caring for the baby, Joseph, a noble carpenter, becomes a blessed foster-father. Upon seeing the Savior wrapped in swaddling clothes, shepherds become heralds of the good news, and the Magi become truth-tellers. In contrast, those who resisted or ignored Him, like Herod, ended up becoming stone-hearted and even murderers.

In The Selfish Giant, Oscar Wilde tells of a giant who was converted from selfishness to selflessness. The Giant owns a beautiful garden, but he does not allow anyone to enter it. One day, while the Giant was away, children of the village entered and began to play in his garden. When the Giant returned, he chased the children away and built a sign reading: "Trespassers will be prosecuted!" As time passed, spring arrived everywhere, but the Giant's garden remained in the dead frost of winter! Waking up one morning, the Giant was surprised to see the trees in his garden blooming, the birds singing... and the children playing there! 

However, this time, the Giant did not chase the children away. Realizing that it was their presence that brought spring to his garden, the Giant welcomed and played with them. Still, winter remained in one corner of the garden. There, beneath a single dead tree, a little boy was found crying helplessly, attempting to climb it. The Giant's cold heart melted upon seeing the little boy, and he said to himself: I know why my garden is still in winter. The Giant gently placed the little boy on top of the tree. Wow! In an instant, that dead tree bloomed! Suddenly, the little boy vanished. In no time, the Giant, with a newly converted heart, knocked down the wall and welcomed all of the children into his garden. Eventually, the Giant grew old and weak. One day, he could not believe his eyes: here comes that little boy! The Giant was shocked to see the marks of nails on the boy's palms and feet. "These are the wounds of love," the little boy said as he kissed the Giant and thanked him for his graciousness. In the morning, when the children came to play, they found the Giant lying dead under the tree, surrounded by white blossoms. Should tears not stream down our cheeks?

Like the Giant, let us welcome Jesus into our hearts to bring eternal joy and peace to us! A Merry Christmas to all.

God bless,

Johnsty Achan