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The Joy of Christmas: Where to Look?

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

Where to Look?

In the Word

We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us (1 Corinthians 2:12).

Of the Word

Seeing the star in the East, the Magi knew a king had been born. They headed to the land of Judea, arriving at the most obvious location for such an event — the capital city, Jerusalem. To their surprise, no king had been born to the royal family living in Herod's grand palace.

The Magi are not the only ones who have looked for Jesus Christ in the wrong place. Even today, some people seek Him in secret knowledge and in personal experience, in fleeting feelings and in the forces of nature. Humanly speaking, those are reasonable places to look! But those are not the places God has promised to be found.

Referring to the prophet Micah, the chief priests told the Magi that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. The travelers left Jerusalem and found the One they were looking for. Today, scripture provides the same reliable guidance to all who come to it asking, "Where is the Messiah? Where can I find Him, that I may go worship Him?" He has promised to be found within the pages of the Bible, God's own true words which reveal his Son to us.

Walking with my Lord

Lead me to Your manger, Lord, so I may worship and adore You in truth and love. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 30/32 Author: Patricia Mitchell. ©2011 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. 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: Remember!

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

Remember!

In the Word

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago (Psalm 77:11).

Of the Word

A miraculous birth … God becomes Man … a star in the East … a chorus of angels from heaven. What wondrous things happened in Bethlehem so many centuries ago! Yet not everyone saw those amazing things, and not everyone believed. Some saw but went about their business as usual. Others never saw because they had no interest in looking.

Miracles today may not seem like the ones the shepherds or the Magi witnessed, but miracles still surround us. We celebrate the love of Almighty God for powerless men, women, and children every Christmas. We rely on His forgiveness, mercy, and compassion every day. Despite the troubles and terrors of the world, God's church continues to grow. The Holy Spirit still inspires people to selflessly and generously serve others. At Christmas, we believe. We believe because He has given us the priceless gift of being willing to look.

Remember the miracles of long ago, and rejoice in the miracles God continues to work in our lives and in the world around us. Rejoice as we celebrate His love.

Walking with my Lord

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord, so I may see you and all Your marvelous works. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 29/32 Author: Patricia Mitchell. ©2011 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. 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: A Taste of Christmas

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

A Taste of Christmas

In the Word

Taste and see that the Lord is good … (Psalm 34:8a).

Of the Word

Christmas is surely a season of the senses. We see the lights and the evergreens, and we hear the strains of carols almost every place we go. We reach out to hug our loved ones, and from the kitchen come familiar aromas, meaning we'll soon get to taste our favorite holiday treats. 

Jesus knows what it's like to see, hear, touch, breathe, and taste because He did those things Himself. He saw suffering people, He heard their cries for help, and He reached out and healed them. He invited His disciples to taste the bread and the wine in remembrance of Him. Before ascending into heaven, Jesus breathed on them, and they received the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Today, Jesus invites us to use our senses to know Him through Word and Sacrament. We listen as His Word is spoken, and we bring to our lips His body and blood. As our prayers lift up as a sweet fragrance to Him, we see, physically and spiritually, His love at work in our lives. The Lord of all invites us to come and taste, see, hear, and touch the real meaning of Christmas.

Walking with my Lord

Lord Jesus, grant that I may know You more deeply. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 28/32 Author: Patricia Mitchell. ©2011 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. 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: Life Changes

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

Life Changes

In the Word

"From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me …" (Luke 1:48b–49a).

Of the Word

God's message to Mary through the angel Gabriel changed her life dramatically. The unknown fiancée of a carpenter became the mother of the promised Savior. Shepherds from nearby pastures and sages from faraway lands came to worship her Child. Another angel's message directed Joseph to save the Baby's life by escaping with his family to Egypt.

Today, God's message continues to change lives. Through the birth of Jesus, God demonstrates to us His desire to heal us of our infirmities, lift from us the burdens of guilt and despair, and assure us of His willingness to walk with us right where we are. He sends His Spirit to change our natural hearts into hearts of humility, compassion, and love. How could our lives remain unchanged after hearing, believing, and embracing such startling, awe-inspiring news?

On that long-ago day, Jesus came into the world to bring us His love and forgiveness, strength and wisdom. He came into the world to change lives.

Walking with my Lord

Lord Jesus, grant me humility to embrace the changed life You desire to give me. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 27/32 Author: Patricia Mitchell. ©2011 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. 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: Count Him In

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

Count Him In

In the Word

… you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that" (James 4:15b).

Of the Word

As the old year closes and a new year opens, we begin to think about things we would like to do in the coming 12 months. We might start making plans to build a new home or take a dream vacation. Perhaps we'll list our New Year's resolutions, like lose weight or finish school or get a better job or read the entire Bible in a year.

Of course, we're counting on God to be there each day in the new year, just as He has been throughout the old year. That goes without saying! But are we consciously counting Him in when we look forward to everything we want to do? Deliberately counting Him in our plans by saying, "If it is Your will," shifts our focus where it needs to be: not on our desires, but on His will.

We're counted among God's beloved people because Jesus consented to be counted among us. In His birth, God invites us to count Him in as we make our plans for every new year … and every new day.

Walking with my Lord

Heavenly Father, let all my plans work out for the best, according to Your good and gracious will. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 26/32 Author: Patricia Mitchell. ©2011 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. 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: Family Ties

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

Family Ties

In the Word

"Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother" (Mark 3:35).

Of the Word

The ties of family, the ties of friendship, the ties of love and affection keep us in relationship with one another. Where there is relationship among us, feelings and experiences are shared. Care and concern are shown. Help, support, and encouragement are given whenever they are needed.

Jesus was born among us to bring us into relationship with Him. When He stepped down from heaven and took on human form, He forged eternal ties between Himself and us. He came to express God's love, share the Good News of forgiveness and salvation, and show us how much our heavenly Father desires a vibrant, living bond with us. To make sure we know what kind of relationship He means, He calls us His brothers and sisters. He assures us of His friendship and His presence in our lives. He promises us His love and affection now and forever.

Our connection to Jesus opens another magnificent relationship, too, and that is an eternal relationship with one another. Through the glorious ties of faith in Him, we are more than friends today. We are family forever. What glorious ties! What a magnificent relationship!

Walking with my Lord

Lord, keep me ever connected to You in faith and love. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 25/32 Author: Patricia Mitchell. ©2011 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. 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: Show and Tell

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

Show and Tell

In the Word

He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous (1 John 3:7b).

Of the Word

Little children love show and tell at school. Even adults enjoy opportunities to show their projects at fairs and in hobby clubs.

In a way, Jesus was God's version of show and tell. He was born to tell us how our heavenly Father feels about us, how He wants us to live, and how we receive eternal life through Him. Along with the telling, Jesus showed us the character of God as He walked among people, healing them, feeding them, and caring about them. He told, and He showed. Many heard, saw, and believed. They brought the Gospel to others by telling them about Jesus Christ and by continuing His work of love, service, and compassion.

We are God's walking, talking show and tell. The special things we do for others show them God's presence. Our words of encouragement, kindness, and compassion tell of God's care and concern. Show and tell — it's the best gift we can give someone this Christmas or anytime.

Walking with my Lord

Lord Jesus, let my words and actions reflect Your unchanging love. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 24/32 Author: Patricia Mitchell. ©2011 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. 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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