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The Joy of Christmas: How Long, Lord?

Mustard Seed Daily DevotionHow Long, Lord?

In the Word

… an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you …" Matthew 2:13b

Of the Word

"How long, Lord?" "How long will it be until I find a job?" "How long will I suffer this pain?" "How long can these problems last?" In times of stress and anxiety, we yearn to know how long.

In a dream, an angel instructed Joseph to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt. The family fled their home in the dead of night to avoid Herod's soldiers and their murderous mission. How long would the family need to stay in Egypt? How long until they felt at home in a strange community? How long would Herod's insanity last? They didn't know. As they had done before, Joseph and Mary put the Word of God above their doubts and questions.

God's unfailing guidance is open to us through His Word, the Bible. In the Bible, we will hear what is truly important: not questions like "how long?" but promises like … the Lord is faithful (2 Thessalonians 3:3a); I will never leave you nor forsake you (Joshua 1:5b); and Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you" (Isaiah 46:4a).

Walking with my Lord

Lord Jesus, give me comfort and strength as I rely on You. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 12/32 Author: Patricia Mitchell. ©2011 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St Louis, MO 63118. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from The HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. All rights reserved worldwide.
 
 

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The Joy of Christmas: His Perfect Plan

Mustard Seed Daily DevotionHis Perfect Plan

In the Word

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. John 1:14a

Of the Word

"If you want to get across an idea, wrap it up in a person." These words, attributed to scholar and diplomat Ralph Bunche, illustrate what God did in the Person of Jesus Christ. 

After the sin of Adam and Eve destroyed their relationship with God, they earned God's stinging words of judgment, but also received His comforting words of hope. God's idea, His perfect plan, was this: He would send a Savior, One who would lift all mankind from the consequences of sin.

At the appointed time, God sent His Son Jesus to Earth in the form of a baby named Jesus, born true God and true man. While he walked on Earth, He personified God's love. When He willingly died on the cross to win our forgiveness and salvation, He showed the depth of His love. In His victorious resurrection, we see the power of His love.

Today God continues to show His love to us. We can find it in His Word, in His Sacraments, and in the work of His Spirit in every believing heart.

Walking with my Lord

Lord Jesus, thank You for showing God's love in Your compassion, Your cross, and Your presence. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 11/32 Author: Patricia Mitchell. ©2011 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St Louis, MO 63118. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from The HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. All rights reserved worldwide.
 
 

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The Joy of Christmas: It's in the telling

Mustard Seed Daily DevotionIt's in the Telling

In the Word

"His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation." Luke 1:50

Of the Word

Adam and Eve told their children, and their children told their children. From generation to generation, God's Old Testament people passed down His promise of a Savior. All the while, prophets arose to urge repentance and to highlight God's enduring mercy. They spoke of One who would deliver them from the burden of guilt and the eternal consequences of sin.

Mary was familiar with God's promise when she heard the words of the angel Gabriel. Though she believed it would be fulfilled, Mary was the first to know that the time had come. Her response of worship and praise marked a turning point in history, for now God's faithful people could stop saying, "Be ready! He will come!" and start singing with the Mary and the angels, "Rejoice! He is here!"

Rejoice that we have the opportunity to share the message of God's mercy in Christ. Give thanks for the blessing of being able to tell the story of Christmas to the next generation, so they may tell the next generation, because His mercy endures forever.

Walking with my Lord

Grant me, Lord Jesus, the boldness I need to share the story of Your love. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 10/32 Author: Patricia Mitchell. ©2011 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St Louis, MO 63118. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from The HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. All rights reserved worldwide.
 
 

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The Joy of Christmas: Sweet Voices

Mustard Seed Daily DevotionSweet Voices

In the Word

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

Of the Word

The Christmas tree sparkles with twinkling lights, the aromas coming from the kitchen are heavenly, and the laughter of loved ones rings through the house. How sweet to enjoy the company of family and friends and to talk the hours away at Christmas time!

The birth of Jesus is God's voice of love to us. We hear it in the words of the Bible and experience it in the Sacraments. This is not a one-way conversation, though! God graciously invites us to speak to Him in prayer, thanking Him for the blessings He has brought into our lives and confessing to Him the burdens of our hearts. Through Jesus Christ, God opens His ears to us, hearing our requests and listening to our voices of worship and praise.

The time we spend hearing God speak to us in His Word and responding to Him in prayer is time spent in the company of our heavenly Father. It's the heartwarming, sweet, comforting, and strengthening conversation we can have every day of the year.

Walking with my Lord

Heavenly Father, I come to You in thanksgiving for sending Your Word into the world in the person of Jesus Christ. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 9/32 Author: Patricia Mitchell. ©2011 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St Louis, MO 63118. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from The HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. All rights reserved worldwide.
 
 

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The Joy of Christmas: House of Bread

Mustard Seed Daily DevotionHouse of Bread

In the Word

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David … Luke 2:4a

Of the Word

Jesus called Himself the Bread of Life. Just as bread nourishes the body, Jesus nourishes the soul. He declares, "He who comes to me will never go hungry" (John 6:35b). Many were puzzled at such an outrageous statement. Yet those who put their trust in Him soon learned the truth of His words. They discovered that Jesus was Who He claimed to be: the Bread of Life. Even today He feeds and strengthens faith, gives spiritual fulfillment, and provides life-giving hope and assurance.

Our Bethlehem, our House of Bread, lies not in Judean hills but in God's Word, the Bible, and in the life-giving bread and wine of Holy Communion. Let the feast begin!

Walking with my Lord

Thank You, Jesus, for feeding me with the Bread of Life. My spirit is well satisfied in You. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 8/32 Author: Patricia Mitchell. ©2011 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St Louis, MO 63118. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from The HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. All rights reserved worldwide.
 

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The Joy of Christmas: Most Valuable Gifts

Mustard Seed Daily DevotionMost Valuable Gifts

In the Word

"And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8b

Of the Word

"What do you want for Christmas?" A child may answer with the name of the latest game or toy. Each of us might answer the question with a list of things we've had our eye on as well. It's a common question asked during the holidays, but rarely is the question addressed to God. Why not? After all, He has an answer for us!

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Old Testament prophet Micah spoke of the gifts God wants from us, His beloved people. He asks us for gifts of the heart, given to Him when we do what is right: showing kindness in word and action; living lives of humility and service. These gifts require no money, no ribbons, and no wrapping, only a Spirit-filled longing to bring Him what He desires most.

What does God want for Christmas? He wants our worship and prayers, our time and abilities, our compassion for others. Those are the gifts He receives with a warm smile and an outstretched hand — and not just at Christmas, but all year long.

Walking with my Lord

Lord, help me to walk humbly with You and to live as Your child. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 7/32 Author: Patricia Mitchell. ©2011 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St Louis, MO 63118. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from The HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. All rights reserved worldwide.
 
 

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The Joy of Christmas: The Whole Story

Mustard Seed Daily DevotionThe Whole Story

In the Word

And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. Isaiah 40:5a

Of the Word

From the first day of December until Christmas, many families keep an Advent calendar. Day by day, the Nativity narrative unfolds, one picture or Bible verse at a time, until it’s completed on the last day of Advent.

Christian growth happens in a similar way throughout our lives. As we read and study the Word of God each day, each year, each decade of life, His will and His ways become clearer. As His Spirit works in our hearts and minds, we gain spiritual wisdom and understanding. Little by little, He transforms us into spiritually mature men and women, willing and able to follow Him, and to serve as an example to others.

Unlike the Advent calendar, where the whole story is revealed at Christmas, the whole story of God’s plan will be revealed when we see Him face to face in heaven. Until then, Christmas is yet another reminder of His great love for us — the love that sent His beloved Son to us in Bethlehem.

Walking with my Lord

Lord Jesus, keep me faithful to Your Word. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 6/32 Author: Patricia Mitchell. ©2011 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St Louis, MO 63118. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from The HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. All rights reserved worldwide.
 
 

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