Christmas Devotion and Prayer for 2015
By Rev. Thomas Dunseth, Director of Deaf Ministry for Lutheran Friends of the Deaf
What a marvelous story…shepherds and angels….animals in a manger, a long trip from Nazareth and a cute baby. Most people are willing to accept the account of the manger, but they don’t want the rest of the story which becomes not so cute: soldiers and an evil king, false friends who betray and flee, beating, spitting, crucifying…and the baby dies. We understand that if Jesus did not grow up and go to die on the cross, the cute Christmas story would have no meaning and be of no benefit to us.
Most of you remember the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December of 2012. What a terrible tragedy in America’s history! During all of the news reporting that covered this story, there was one reporter who said something that was troubling. He said, ‘I feel so sorry for those families who lost children because now their Christmas will be ruined.’
Is that ALL Christmas means for him? What about you? Many of you have lost children, parents, husbands or wives. Does this mean that you cannot be happy at Christmas? Murder in Connecticut, terrorist attacks in Paris, worries about health and country and death of people we love…it is for these things that Jesus came…to heal broken hearts…to comfort during every loss…to forgive guilty consciences AND to make it possible for us to see our loved ones who have died. Forgiveness, eternal life and body resurrection is why Jesus was born; and the birth of this Child for us is the meaning of Christmas. Christmas parties, gifts and family around us on this earth only continue for a short time…and usually are filled with conflict and disappointment. But God’s gift of His own Son and His promise that all who trust this Child to save them will live forever…even though they die. May God bless you Christmas 2015. May the story of the manger be a reminder of God’s love for you, and may His grace keep you in faith…trusting Him through all your troubles during your life on earth. Wishing all of you a blessed, Merry Christmas.
Dear Father in Heaven, may the humility of the shepherds, the faith of the wise men, the joy of the angels, and the peace of the Christ Child, be God’s gift to us and to all people, this Christmas and always. Amen.