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The Joy of Christmas: Life Light

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

Life Light

In the Word

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light … (Isaiah 9:2a).

Of the Word

As Christmas time approaches in the northern hemisphere the days get darker. The short hours of sunlight remind us that the year is drawing to a close. The lights in our homes go on earlier, and we spend less time outdoors than we did only a month ago.

We may notice, too, another kind of darkness — the darkness of families who struggle to make ends meet, who mourn for a loved one, who suffer serious illness, who weep in despair. This is the kind of darkness Jesus came to shatter. He came as the Light Who replaces the darkness of soul with hope, comfort, encouragement, and strength.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, God's people bring His light to a sin-darkened, pain-filled world. The Gospel's Good News gives hope to the hopeless. With His great light in us, we can reflect His light to all who live in darkness.

Walking with my Lord

Lord Jesus, light my life with the light of Your Word and the brightness of faith in You. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 16/32 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: So All May See

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

So All May See

In the Word

"No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light" (Luke 11:33).

Of the Word

If our Christmas tree sits by a big window, we keep the curtains open so passersby can see it. We want them to notice twinkling lights, colorful ornaments, and holiday garlands. When our neighbors do the same thing, the whole block looks festive and bright!

While few would dim the lights of their trees by pulling the curtains, many of us dim the Christmas story by drawing a curtain around our faith. We go along with the world's holiday themes, keeping the true reason for all the merriment confined to our homes, our churches, and our hearts. We talk about gifts and elves and Santa Claus, not wanting to offend anyone by speaking of the Christ Child born in a manger on a silent night in Bethlehem.

Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we can pull open the curtains we draw around our faith. He gives us the confidence to be who we are — lights shining as brightly as candles on a dark night. By God's grace, we can tell the real Christmas story.

Walking with my Lord

Lord Jesus, send Your Spirit into our hearts so we may shine the light of Your Gospel for others to see. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 15/32 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: God With Us

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

God With Us

In the Word

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14).

Of the Word

What's your name? When your loved ones hear your name, they picture you — your face, your voice, even your personality. With your name comes the image of you!

Through the prophet Isaiah, God gave Jesus the name Immanuel, which means "God with us." When we hear this name, we think of God's Son being born among people, becoming a true human being yet remaining fully God. The name Immanuel reminds us that God was present in the manger on that first Christmas night, and He is also present in our lives today.

Immanuel! Picture Him lying in a manger. Hear His voice preaching to the crowds, comforting the sick, and inviting us to come to Him so He may give us rest. See Him as a Man, dying on the cross, and imagine His stunning presence on that first Easter morning. Listen to His name — Immanuel — and know that God is with us always.

Walking with my Lord

Immanuel, come into my life and make Your presence known through Your Word and Sacraments. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 14/32 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: Crown of Righteousness

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

Crown of Righteousness

In the Word

Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness … (2 Timothy 4:8a).

Of the Word

All it takes is construction paper, scissors, paste, and a few glue-on sequins to make a fairly serviceable crown. Remember doing that as a child? Once finished it was worn proudly to proclaim the wearer as king or queen of the realm!

Though born King of Kings, Jesus never wore even a paper crown, much less a real one fashioned in gold and studded with jewels. Instead, He was given a crown of thorns in a mocking nod to His sovereignty, and He willingly bore the torment. Why? So each of us could wear His crown of righteousness! His is not a paper crown like one we might make, or even a royal crown of fantastic worth. His is the glorious crown of being right with God. This is the crown He was born to give us.

Jesus, King of Kings, calls us to come to Him in faith — faith in His birth, death, and resurrection. He invites us to kneel before Him as He crowns us "right with God" now and for eternity.

Walking with my Lord

Lord Jesus, King of Kings, rule in my heart so that I may receive the crown of life everlasting. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 13/32 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: How Long, Lord?

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

How 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, 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: His Perfect Plan

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

His 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, 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: It's in the telling

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

It'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, 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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