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Merry Christmas!

And the shepherds returned glorifying God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them (Luke 2:20).

The silent night is fading like the darkness against the brightening eastern sky. As the sun rises, the shepherds begin their return to their sheep. It had been an eventful night for them – the angels, the announcement, the walk, the stable, the manger, and the Baby. There in the manger was a baby boy wrapped in strips of cloth, just as the angel had told them. It was all there, right in front of them.

Now it came time to return back to the sheep, back to their daily lives. What impact did this announcement have upon them? They told all that would listen that the Savior had been born. They proclaimed the words of hope and life. They glorified God for all of it.

Christmas Day for you. The message is for you, today. The Savior has been born. He is Christ the Lord. He has come to save you from the depth of your sin. The silent night may be gone in the mayhem of the day, but the message remains the same – For to you is born this day…a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11).

Merry Christmas!

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O Bethlehem!

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.

Of all the towns that have ever been, God chose Bethlehem to be the place where His Son would be born. As the wise men traveled to Jerusalem, a natural spot for a kingly birth, they inquired of King Herod: Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? (Mt 2:2) The chief priests and scribes provided the King with the answer from Micah 5:2. It is in Bethlehem, a small town, just a few miles away.  On the day of our Savior's birth he was delivered by Mary and placed in a manger. For ever more the birth place of Jesus would be heralded as Bethlehem. On Christmas Eve, marvel at His holy birth, that in tiny Bethlehem would come the Savior of the World.  Peace on earth - good will to you!  Devotions are always available for free download from the LWML website at: www.lwml.org/program-helps-devotions

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Where does love abide?

The new DVD Bible study, authored by Donna Pyle, is titled Where Love Abides. It was filmed at a vineyard in upstate New York, where not only grapes, but fruit of all kind is grown.

Stretch your Bible study time by offering to share God’s Word with others as you host a Bible study at your church or in your home.

Search for more available resources at lwml.org/bible-studies

So, the question is, where does love abide?

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This DVD study suggests that love abides, when we are “Abiding in the True Vine to Bear Lasting Fruit”.

During this Christmas season, rejoice that “Love” has come to us through our Savior, Jesus Christ.

The King of Kings and Lord of Lords became a human man for us, who were lost in sin. Born in a lowly stable, He fulfilled the Law for us, when He gave Himself totally, on that cross on Calvary. Triumphantly, He rose from the dead as our Victor over death.

This is where love abides, in Him, in us as we worship our God, when we share His Word, when we gather together at His church, during Holy Communion, singing His praises, praying for each other, showing compassion to those in need.

May our lives be filled with His Love, during this Christmas season and for years to come!

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love (John 15:9).

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A Time of Preparation

Advent is a time of preparation as our King of Kings draws near. The poetry of this old hymn says it all so well.

Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates! Behold, the King of glory waits. The King of kings is drawing near; The Savior of the world is here. Life and Salvation He doth bring; Therefore rejoice and gladly sing, To God the Father raise Your joyful songs of praise.

A righteous Helper comes to thee; His chariot is humility, His kingly crown is holiness, His scepter, pity in distress. The end of all our woe He brings; Therefore the earth is glad and sings. To Christ the Savior raise Your grateful hymns of praise.

How blest the land, the city blest, Where Christ the ruler is confessed! O peaceful hearts and happy homes to whom this King in triumph comes! The cloudless sun of joy is He Who comes to set His people free. To God the Spirit raise Your happy shouts of praise.

Fling wide the portals of your heart; Make it a temple set apart From earthly use for heaven’s employ, Adorned with prayer and love and joy. So shall your Sov’reign enter in And new and nobler life begin. To God alone be praise For word and deed and grace!

Redeemer, come and open wide My heart to Thee; here, Lord, abide! O enter with Thy grace divine; They face of mercy on me shine. Thy Holy Spirit guide us on Until our glorious goal is won. Eternal praise and fame We offer to Thy name.

“Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates” LSB 340

May your Advent activities provide you, with the help of the Holy Spirit, a chance to share the Gospel message and grace of God as seen in the giving of Jesus Christ for our salvation.

Patti Ross

Be a Spiritual Leader

God has called you through Baptism to be a spiritual leader!

Yes, we’ve all been created by God through the Holy Spirit to lead in our home, church, and community.  This may seem easier for some than others, but keep your trust in God – He will bless you with all that is needed.

Leadership can be seen by how we influence other people.  As a follower of Christ, you are called to influence them by your faith.  Jesus said it this way: “You are the salt of the earth … You are the light of the world … Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:13–16). 

Sociologists say that an introverted person will influence an average of 10,000 people.  Just think about that.  Someone who’s not even trying to lead will impact them by what they do and how they live. See yourself as a leader for the Lord and learn from the men and women who did so in the Bible.  Embrace your Spirit given gifts and find joy in leading — for God has blessed you.

LWML leadership tips are available at www.lwml.org/leadership-tips.

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A Labor of Love

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LWML Mission Grant #14, Laborers of Love – Lutheran Braille Workers

The mission grant “Laborers of Love” is for Lutheran Braille Workers (LBW) to transcribe the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible into Braille. This enables the blind to participate in Bible studies and worship services using the same version of Holy Scripture that their sighted fellow believers use.

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Having attended the 75th Anniversary celebration of Lutheran Braille Workers this past October, I saw firsthand the ability of a fourth grader to read Braille while quickly passing his fingers over the page and talk about his favorite books of the Bible. I heard a nationally known speaker talk about the Scripture being the “light” in his life.

Many LWML women and their congregation members work in local Braille Workshops all over the United States. These volunteers produce the Braille and mail the books to recipients around the world. It is truly a “labor of love” to help the blind touch the Word of God in the form of Braille scripture and feel the love Jesus has for them.

[Jesus said] “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind” (Luke 4:18).

Continue to pray for all the mission grants. On this Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday, November 27, you may donate toward the 2017–2019 LWML Mission Goal by using LWML Facebook, or at this website, lwml.org/givingtuesday. Your donation will be doubled on that day, thanks to the commitment of one generous couple and one generous individual.

Patti Ross

The Lord’s Table

My dad was in church Thursday morning giving thanks to our Lord for all his earthly and heavenly blessings. Thanksgiving is one of my dad’s favorite holidays not only because of the delicious smoked turkey legs shared at the dinner table with family, but because of the gifts received through the sacrament of Holy Communion shared with God’s children at the Lord’s Table.

As a child, I remember my dad getting up at 4:00 a.m. to begin smoking the turkey. He would start it early enough so that he could attend the Thanksgiving Day worship service. Thank you to my dad for the turkey and for bringing me to church. Although I am grateful to have now made it to the big kids’ dinner table on Thanksgiving, the best table is the Communion table where our Father invites us to His banquet feast.

nullRecently, I read a Mustard Seed Devotion about gratitude. I thank Rev. Larry and Shari Miller for authoring this Faith-Filled Parenting Mustard Seed Devotion. I thank my mom for sharing her faith with me and for spreading the Gospel by giving Mustard Seed Devotions along with a tip to servers, attendants, and caregivers for their service.

You too can share the gift of the Gospel in thanksgiving by purchasing Mustard Seed Devotions at lwml.org and click on SHOP or receive the daily Mustard Seed Devotion through your email or LWML app and share them with all of God’s children.

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