Since Christmas 2012, I have written a number of blogs dealing with serious subjects.  They have been prayerfully written to remind us about the persecution of Christians in other countries, including the suffering of Pastor Saeed Abedini, the American pastor imprisoned in Iran, and many others, the onslaught against Christians in Syria, Egypt, and other parts of the Middle East, including the kidnapped nuns of Syria, the eroding freedom to practice our Christian faith in the United States, the assaults on home-schooling parents, both in the United States and abroad, the unfathomable scourge of abortion around the world, the pernicious mockery of traditional marriage by the institutions of influence in our society, and a four-part series on the educationally damaging Common Core academic standards.  These are merely several of the topics I have written about since last Christmas.  On occasion, I hear from readers who say that many of my topics are discouraging to read about, but the Bible does instruct us to watch and pray.  This Christmas, I am comforted with the astounding reality that God entered human history to redeem mankind; God’s unmerited Gift of the Lord Jesus through His love and grace.  Many babies have been born who have become kings, but this Christmas, we remember that only one holy and eternal King became a baby.  This alone should encourage and bless those among us who claim the privilege to be adopted children of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Thus, we can comfort one another through Christ as we face continued uncertainty and great darkness in our world.

One of my astute international readers recently shared a powerful, simple story.  A great fire broke out at Yellowstone National Park.  After the forest fire subsided, forest rangers trekked up one of the mountains to assess the inferno’s damage.  One ranger found a bird petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree.  Sickened by the eerie sight, the ranger knocked over the bird with a stick.  When he gently struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under the dead mother’s wings.  The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her chicks to the base of the tree, and gathered them under her wings.  Through the instinct given to her by God, she knew that the smoke would rise.  She, of course, could have flown to safety, but she refused to abandon her chicks.  When the blaze arrived, the heat scorched her small body, but the mother remained steadfast.  Because she was willing to die, those under her wings would live.  So as we may face discouragement this Christmas at many events in our world, let us remember this example for we are taught by the Psalmist in Psalm 91:4 that “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”  May God continue to bless you all, and keep you under His loving feathers.  I wish you and your families a blessed Merry Christmas.