One day in March, I began suffering with a toothache. I tried to pray, but after a couple of days, I couldn't open my mouth normally, and I decided to make an appointment with a dentist. In the past, I had regularly gone to a dentist for cleanings, though it had been at least two years since my last visit.

As I continued to pray, something I'd learned a couple of months earlier, at Christmastime, became a source of healing light. I love these words from the Lord's Prayer: "Give us this day our daily bread." To me, one meaning of this is that God is daily giving us gifts, and it is our right to claim them all. Jesus also said, "It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). If it pleases God to give us gifts, then we surely can accept them with joy and gratitude!

This is what I have come to do during the Christmas season in particular, devoting the month of December to unwrapping an inspiring thought found in the well-known and beloved Bible account of Jesus' birth. I have learned to start early — well before December 25 — to take stock of the gifts I cherish and express my gratitude to God.

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December 19, 2005

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