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The Joy of Christmas: It's a Revelation

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It's a Revelation

In the Word

"… Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him" (Matthew 2:2).

Of the Word

Epiphany, meaning revelation, begins on January 6. It celebrates the revelation of the Son of God to the Gentiles, reminding us that Jesus came to bring forgiveness to everyone, to make the world right with Himself.

Epiphany continues today as God reveals Himself to us through the words of Scripture and strengthens our faith through the power of His Sacraments. The Holy Spirit works in us, increasing our faith and understanding of the plan and purpose of God for our lives. Responding to His love, we share it with others in both words and deeds.

As God's Epiphany work continues in us, we become God's revelation to others of what it means to follow Him. Our Spirit-inspired words and actions have the power to draw others to ask, as the Magi did, "Where is this Jesus? We, too, want to come and worship Him."

Walking with my Lord

Lord Jesus, send Your Holy Spirit into my heart so Your life may be revealed in me. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 32/32 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 Face of God

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The Face of God

In the Word

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him (Matthew 2:11a).

Of the Word

The Magi, intelligent and educated men, put aside their own understanding to follow a star in the East. When they came to the place where the Child was, they knelt before Him, worshiped Him, and poured out their treasures at His feet. The learned men, by looking to the wisdom of God, recognized the face of God in Jesus Christ.

The Bible shows us the face of God in Jesus when we approach His Word. We come with humility, putting aside our own visions of Him and discovering what He truly does look like. We come with gratitude, love, and praise because God has given us the Good News of salvation in Christ Jesus. Finally, we come with willingness to allow God to lead us where He would have us go, confident that He is always drawing us closer to Himself.

Today, wise men (and women) are those who look for the Lord not by the light of their own understanding, but by the light of His Word.

Walking with my Lord

Lord Jesus, show Your face to me that I may see and believe. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Joy of Christmas. 31/32 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: Where to Look?

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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!

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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

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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

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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

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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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