LHM Advent Devotion – December 19, 2014 “Stolen Joy”


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Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

By Reverend Wayne Palmer

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin!  Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int’l LLL (LHM). 

“Stolen Joy”

December 19, 2014

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Read Matthew 11:2-6.
Jesus replied, “Tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised and good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is he who is not offended by Me.” Matthew 11:4-5

One of my Dad’s worst Christmases was in 1976. On the 21st of December he was on a step-ladder at church, trying to close a window that was stuck open. As he tugged on the window the ladder gave way; he smashed into the wall fracturing his shoulder in three places and cutting a deep gash into his shin. He spent that Christmas in agony sitting day and night in a chair in the living room, waiting for his shoulder to heal.

Do circumstances in your life ever steal away the joy of your Christmas? Do they raise doubts in your mind about the Child of Christmas-if He is really God’s Son? Do you ever wonder why there is still so much suffering in our lives and in our world if Jesus came to save the world? This Christmas many of you will find or still find yourself unemployed. Others have lost loved ones whose absence is keenly felt this time of year. Some have lost marriages. Some may even be facing the prospect that this will be their last Christmas on earth.

Similar thoughts darkened John the Baptist’s mind. He was locked in a dungeon because he had done exactly what the Lord commanded him to do: he had warned the wicked ruler Herod Antipas to repent. Like the prophets before him, he preached of judgment, but now John was the only one facing the judgment! There in the dark, gloomy dungeon John couldn’t see Jesus very clearly. He sent word to ask if Jesus was the One or should the people of Israel be looking for another.

Jesus reminded John of the very things He came into this world to do: giving sight to the blind, restoring the lame and the paralyzed, cleansing those with leprosy, restoring hearing to the deaf, raising the dead, and preaching good news to the poor. All of these were signs to prove Jesus was God’s Son. And at the same time they pointed ahead to the future when Jesus Christ will raise all the dead and change every living believer to enjoy perfect health in a perfect creation in God’s wonderful presence forever.

The Child of Christmas is here to comfort and help you through all your struggles, your doubts, your darkness, and your pain. He knows how hard it is when you are misunderstood, judged, and condemned. He was nailed to the cross because of the jealous rage of His enemies. But He rose again on the third day to remind us that God is the victor, and through faith in Jesus Christ, God will share that great victory with each of us.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, in those times when my spirit is in the darkness of despair lift me up. Forgive my sins, restore my joy, and strengthen my faith and trust in You. Give me patience until You bring relief. Amen.

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