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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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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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