LHM Advent Devotion – December 16, 2014 “If One Goes Out They All Go Out”

 

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Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Reverend Wayne Palmer

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“If One Goes Out They All Go Out”

December 16, 2014

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Read Isaiah 35:8-10.
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Isaiah 35:10

I have a love-hate relationship with my Christmas lights. I love them when they work. I hate them when they don’t. Sometimes a single bulb goes dark; sometimes it’s a section; sometimes it’s the whole string. Often they are all working when you put them up. But then, usually on a dark night when snow is falling, the temperature is dropping, and a cold wind is blowing, you look up to admire them and you see some of them are unlit.

When I was a kid miniature bulbs had one huge drawback-the electric current had to run all the way through each and every bulb or it wouldn’t run through any of them. So if one bulb went out, they all went out. Sometimes our joy at Christ’s birth seems like that. We get the idea we will only have a great Christmas if everything goes perfectly. But if one part of life goes badly, it steals the joy and leaves us in darkness.

But vast improvements in miniature bulb strings have been made since I was a kid. Now, when a bulb burns out, current still runs through the base of that bulb to the next. As a result, you may have lights burned out, but the rest will keep shining.

Odds are this Christmas won’t find everything perfect in your life. You may have good health and a good job, but are struggling with relationship problems. Your family may get along fine, but you’re having troubles paying your bills. It might be everything else is good, but this is the first Christmas since a loved one died and it just doesn’t feel like Christmas without him or her.

It’s hard to keep from letting one problem crowd out our joy and thankfulness. It’s hard, that is, until you stop and think about the first Christmas. Joseph and Mary were not wealthy people. And since there was no room to lodge, they had to wrap Jesus in swaddling cloths and lay Him in a manger-a rough feeding trough. But the lack of a crib did not diminish the joy of that first Christmas. The joy still shone through because the Son of God, the Savior of the world, was here.

On that first Christmas, Jesus Christ began sharing our sorrows, our problems, our pains, and our sufferings. Eventually He shared our death and God’s wrath. But through His perfect life and innocent suffering and death, He conquered our death and won for us eternal life. Until His glorious return to this earth, our lives will not be perfect and neither will our Christmases. But He will change all of that upon His return. Never again will there be sorrow, loss, grief, suffering, or pain. All of that will flee in His glorious presence, and we will be crowned with eternal joy and gladness.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, because of Your great sacrifice, I have reason to rejoice and be glad all the days of my life. Comfort me in my sorrows this Christmas. Please open my eyes to see those who suffer around me so I can offer them that same comfort. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

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