Day 9

December 7

December 7

John 1:14, 16-17

14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth. 16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Unmerited Favor

Lori Baker, Ph.D.

What a glorious time it is during the Advent season as we prepare for the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus. John 1:14 tells us "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We have seen the glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." The Son came to us full of grace and truth. Grace is such a beautiful gift. It is the freely given unmerited favor and love of God.

As colleagues in the university, we often have to remind ourselves of this gift. We are constantly surrounded by high-achieving exceptional people who have earned their place in the university through consequences of merit. Merit is something that is an integrated part of all that we do. There are merit scholarships, merit raises, and meritorious achievement. Students are ranked in their courses as well as being ranked among their cohort by the grades that they earn. They attain places among esteemed national and international organizations due to their efforts. Faculty spend their lives striving to achieve the highest accolades among their peers in learned societies due to their scholarly excellence. For this academician, the thought of grace always brings a smile to my lips because it exists outside of merit; it is freely given to me by God.

We must also remind ourselves to have faith in God's grace. At Baylor, we are both a community of the mind and a community of faith. Faculty and students together create and share knowledge as a way to build understanding of truth. One of the greatest gifts of being part of a Christian research university is the ability to know and share that truth came through Jesus Christ as communicated in John 1:17. It is our privilege to have the freedom to consider this ultimate truth in our academic life and to express and share it through our faith.

As we prepare our homes for Christmas, we must us also prepare ourselves to fully receive God's grace and truth through our faith. This is the time to contemplate the meaning of Christ's coming and why God made the Word flesh. We should set aside quiet moments to reflect on that which may hinder our full relationship with Him, and remember that it is through our renewed faith that we may be deeply transformed by His grace.

Learn More About Our Guest Writer

NameLori Baker, Ph.D.

Lori Baker, Ph.D., is Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity and professor of anthropology in the College of Arts & Sciences, specializing in skeletal biology and genetics. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Reuniting Families Project.

Dr. Baker works internationally on the recovery and identification of remains of victims of human rights violations and assisted in the establishment of Mexico’s Missing Nationals Abroad database. She has been an invited speaker in many national and international venues such as at the Peace Palace in The Hague as part of the International Commission on Missing Persons Conference and Amnesty International. She has performed forensic analysis of over 500 cases from of missing persons for the U.S., Mexico, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Peru and Honduras resulting in the repatriation of loved ones in each of these countries. She has acted as a consultant to the Attorney General of Mexican State of Chihuahua as well as to the Washington Office on Latin America, the U.S. Agency for International Development in addition to the Truth Commissions in Peru and Panama.

She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and has published in national and international journals. Her work has been featured in Discovery Magazine, National Geographic, NPR, The Washington Post, USA Today, MSNBC, The Wall Street Journal, and other media outlets.

Listen in on a Baylor Connections podcast regarding Dr. Baker's work.