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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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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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