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The Joy of Christmas: Golden Opportunity

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

Golden Opportunity

In the Word

… they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh (Matthew 2:11b).

Of the Word

We've heard the saying, "All that glitters is not gold." For sure, the holiday season has plenty of glitter! There's the glitter of ornaments, ribbons, and lights. There's the glitter of sequined clothes and sparkly jewelry, and the glitter of garlands draped across mantles and doorways.

Only a week or so after Christmas, though, the holiday glitter goes away. It's not gold, after all, and it's a far cry from the treasures laid at the feet of the newborn King by the Magi who had come to worship Him. These God-fearing Gentiles gave their treasures to express reverence and honor. Their gifts were the real thing.

Of exceedingly more value than their treasures, however, was the message the travelers brought back to their home country. They had met the Messiah! They had worshiped and adored Him! They had seen beyond the glitter of the world, beyond the value of their riches, education, and learning, and now they possessed the true treasure of the Gospel. The King of Kings was born!

Walking with my Lord

Lord Jesus, bless me with the gift of knowing the true meaning of Your birth. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 23/32 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: Signs of Christmas

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

Signs of Christmas

In the Word

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart (Luke 2:19).

Of the Word

Some will get to it sooner than others — putting away all the Christmas decorations, that is. The efficient will have everything Christmas back in storage right after New Year's or the day after Epiphany; the procrastinators may be packing ornaments and hiding Easter eggs at the same time. In either case, sooner or later, all signs of Christmas are gone.

Spiritually the same thing happens when the message of Christmas disappears, too. After the holidays, our attention shifts from the miracle of the Christ Child born among us to the daily routine of work and responsibilities. Goodwill may morph into negative feelings and strained relationships. Charity to the needy may take second place to generosity to ourselves.

No matter when the Christmas decorations are put away, the Holy Spirit makes a permanent place in our hearts for the true meaning of Christmas. He calls us to believe in the miracle of Jesus' birth, live in the love He gives, and serve with humility and joy. God's love in Jesus is the one thing we want to have with us all year long.

Walking with my Lord

Lord Jesus, let Your presence dwell in my heart at Christmas time and always. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 22/32 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 Time

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

Family Time

In the Word

As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people" (2 Corinthians 6:16b).

Of the Word

Christmas is a family time. It can be seen in the number of cars parked in our neighbor's driveway or the extra groceries piled in baskets at the supermarket. When families gather for worship on Christmas they bring generations together, often filling up an entire church pew.

Throughout the Bible, God speaks of His desire to live in a family relationship with us. He invites us to call Him Father, and He continually calls us His sons and daughters, His children and heirs. He promised a Messiah to be born, the only One who could bring us into God's family through His death and resurrection. God's promise was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus and in His life, death, and resurrection. Through faith in Jesus, our place in God's family is secure, not just for the holidays, or until death, but forever.

For God's children, there's no such thing as an absent family, a broken family, or no family. At Christmas time and always, He is our loving Father and we are His beloved children. Because of Him, we have everything in the world to smile about.

Walking with my Lord

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for bringing me into the family of my heavenly Father. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 21/32 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: Christ is Born!

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

Christ is Born!

In the Word

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men (Luke 2:52).

Of the Word

We love to hear about people of power and influence. We admire them and are inspired by them, but we often have a hard time identifying with them. We just can't imagine ourselves, with our weaknesses and limitations, being in their positions!

We can imagine ourselves, however, being born, living in a family, and experiencing joy and sorrow, companionship and loneliness, achievement and failure. After all, we're human! And so was Jesus. Though fully God, He was also fully human. It is through His humanity that we can embrace Him as our Brother and our Friend.

Christ is born! Because He was true Man, He understands what it means to possess little influence and power in the world. He knows what it's like to feel pain and anxiety He is Immanuel — God with us!

Walking with my Lord

Lord Jesus, You are my Brother and my Friend. I cling to You for peace and comfort. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 20/32 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: The Message of Angels

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

The Message of Angels

In the Word

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests" (Luke 2:13–14).

Of the Word

The scriptures speak often of angels. The angel Gabriel announced Jesus' birth to Mary, and a chorus of angels sang praises in the skies over Bethlehem. Later, an angel warned Joseph to run to Egypt to escape King Herod's soldiers. The Bible often tells of angels protecting, guiding, warning, and informing God's people.

Angel means messenger, describing well the mission of the immortal spirits God created to carry out His will. God's people are also His messengers, sharing His Word and speaking messages of love and forgiveness. They help and encourage by reaching out to others, assisting in word and deed.

As children of God, we can use the gifts God has given us, touching lives in need and sharing His love and comfort.

Walking with my Lord

Lord Jesus, thank You for the times I'm privileged to be Your messenger to others. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 19/32 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: Peace and Goodwill

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

Peace and Goodwill

In the Word

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" (Luke 2:14 NKJV).

Of the Word

They shattered the darkness and filled the air with anthems. Those angels who appeared on that first Christmas night had an announcement to make, and they made it in a way matched neither before nor since in power and intensity. To this day, their announcement resounds for all to hear.

The angel chorus praised God, singing, "Glory to God in the highest." Then they went on to say two startling things,"on earth peace," and "goodwill toward men." Peace? Goodwill? Yes and yes! In Jesus alone we find true peace. The angels from heaven were declaring God's attitude toward His people — one of complete goodwill, seen in the birth, death, and resurrection of His beloved Son.

Despite our failings, God's loving kindness has never failed, and it never will. He sent Jesus into the world so we could see His glory, live in spiritual peace, and enjoy the gift of His goodwill at Christmas time and always.

Walking with my Lord

Embrace me with Your peace, Lord, and let Your goodwill fill me with praise! Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 18/32 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.
Scripture quotations marked (NKJV) are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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The Joy of Christmas: Picture This!

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

Picture This!

In the Word

"We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him" (Matthew 2:2b).

Of the Word

The story of the Nativity is filled with pictures. In your mind's eye, see the heavenly host filling Bethlehem's sky. Watch shepherds running to find the Babe in the manger. Imagine the Magi, richly-robed scholars, traveling far to worship the King.

Our mental pictures help us remember what happened long ago and also teach us important truths today. The angels set the stage by being the first to honor the newborn King. They announced the Good News of the Savior's birth to common Jews, and the star announced it to noble Gentiles, reminding us that God calls all. He turns away no one because of status, achievement, intellect, wealth, or race. Picture this: Christ was born for all!

As we listen to the Christmas story, picture everything that happened. The angels. The manger. The shepherds. The wise men. Picture it all, and come and worship Him!

Walking with my Lord

Lord Jesus, I come to You among believers of all times and places. Help me to worship You. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 17/32 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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