Justice Willett: My Prayer This Christmas

Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett's Family
Photo Provided by the Willett Family

The following Christmas wishes were authored and submitted to Breitbart Texas by Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett.

I don’t remember much of my childhood. My father passed away when I was six, and sadly, I don’t have the fuzziest, foggiest memory of him — what his voice was like, anything he ever said to me, nothing. My early years are a total blur.

Fast-forward to 2014, and it’s undeniable that I have an extravagantly blessed life. Peerless wife lifted from the pages of Proverbs 31. Three fabulous children. And the indescribable privilege of serving the glorious Lone Star State on the Supreme Court.

Still, I grew up with a dad-shaped hole in my heart. The final day of the bar exam in 1992, I visited my dad’s gravesite. It was the 20th anniversary of his passing. The day I got married, I wore my dad’s cufflinks. The day I joined the Supreme Court, I wore them again.

People often ask why I didn’t run for Attorney General in 2014. There are three reasons, and their names are Jacob Noble (10), Shane-David Gabriel (8), and Genevieve Elizabeth (5). I didn’t want to miss thousands of irreplaceable days of childhood. I want their adult memories of growing up to be chock full of Daddy.

One truth I’ve learned as a father: Children want presence more than presents. They don’t want to read about you; they want you.

So while my own childhood Christmas recollections are few and far between, I’m intent on forging rich, lifelong memories with the wee Willetts.

One fun thing we do is watch the Christmas classics, and our favorite — theirs and mine — is, what else, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Next year this masterpiece turns 50! My kids love the jazzy tunes, the zany dancing, and, of course, the heartfelt Linus speech. It has an elegance and innocence that endures across every generation.

The secret: Charles Schulz insisted it be about the true meaning of Christmas. Those two minutes of Linus at center stage are flat-out magical. If Charlie Brown was disillusioned by commercialism in 1965, he’d be inconsolable today. But Linus’s pitch-perfect recitation from Luke is exquisite. A Charlie Brown Christmas is a national treasure because it delivers beautifully the central miracle of Christmas: Emmanuel — God With Us. From the wood of the manger to the wood of the cross.

During law school, I met some college friends in New York City for Thanksgiving, and we saw the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. I was stunned when it concluded with “One Solitary Life” by Dr. James Allan Francis. This meditation of unabashed worship scrolled across a giant screen, and it floored me with Linus-like oomph.

We still inhabit a Jesus-shaped world. Two millennia later, He remains, for believers and nonbelievers alike, “the central figure of the human race,” as Dr. Francis put it.

My prayer this Christmas, both for my family and for yours, is that we will, as Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, “remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men.”



He was born in an obscure village
The child of a peasant woman
He grew up in another obscure village
Where he worked in a carpenter shop
Until he was thirty when public opinion turned against him
He never wrote a book
He never held an office
He never went to college
He never visited a big city
He never travelled more than two hundred miles
From the place where he was born
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness
He had no credentials but himself

He was only thirty three

His friends ran away
One of them denied him
He was turned over to his enemies
And went through the mockery of a trial
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves
While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing
The only property he had on earth

When he was dead
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend

Nineteen centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind’s progress
All the armies that have ever marched
All the navies that have ever sailed
All the parliaments that have ever sat
All the kings that ever reigned put together
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that one solitary life

Follow Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett on Twitter @JusticeWillett.


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