Illustration: Christmas, Incarnation

Back in 1891, Robert Louis Stevenson, author of such classics as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Kidnapped, gave a rather odd gift to the daughter of a friend of his. This friend, Henry Ide, once joked that Christmas was not the happiest day of the year in his household. His 14-year-old daughter, Annie, had been born on Christmas; she always complained she got cheated out of a separate birthday party. So Robert Louis Stevenson came up with the idea of giving away his birthday. He drew up a legal document transferring all the "rights and privileges" of his birthday, which fell on Nov. 13, to Miss Annie H. Ide. From that day forward, Annie celebrated her birthday on Nov. 13.

Robert Louis Stevenson was not the first to transfer all his "rights and privileges" to someone else. In a sense, Jesus became mortal that He might transfer some of His immortality to us. Jesus became human that He might transfer the spark of divinity to us. Jesus became a servant that He might transfer us to the status of sons and daughters. Or as John put it: "The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (King Duncan, Collected Sermons)