Among the favored Christmas carols throughout our local churches, perhaps the song "Away in the Manger" still holds first place in the hearts of many believers, as it did in mine this year. But the card I got from a friend, who is also a pastor, really made my day Sunday and made the Christmas message more alive. Of course, the architect who designed this beautiful handmade card had excellent vision and maybe unheralded talent. The three kings, or wise men, each wearing crowns bearing gifts to present to the babe in the manger makes up the front of the folding card. When I opened the card, the first thing I looked at was this resounding message written beneath the palm tree which was visible before I opened the card. It wrote as follows: "Two thousand years have passed but love endures and wise men still follow the Star." The message on the other side finished the Christmas message: "And lo the star which they saw went before them" (Matthew 2:9). Dear friend, thank you and may the good Lord continue to bless your ministry.
I will use this card and the message as a guiding light to continue the work I had been doing on our 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), a law that may have unintentionally robbed Native cultures and Natives the gift of liberty. Surely, this gift would not have been a reality if it wasn't for the babe in the manger. Today we know that this sacred gift was first secured to whosoever will at the "Cross at Calvary" 2003 years ago not today, where the babe also called Christ Jesus was crucified. What we do with our precious birthrights today, which were denied the gift of liberty, will also determine whether or not we will be here to enjoy the land when our Lord Jesus Christ, the babe in the manger, returns to planet Earth to rule and to govern His own people. Of course, the first man who sold his birthrights for a bowl of stew was Esau; although he wept much, he never regained it. And Judas followed in Esau's footsteps when he betrayed our Lord Jesus, the one with whom we have equal inheritance, for 30 pieces of silver.
By all means, Christmas is a special day because it commemorates the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ who is our salvation and when we let Him come into our lives; He gives us a new purpose in life, a new direction and a new independence to do His will (Luke 4:18). Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2004.
Franklin S. Williams Sr.
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