LHM Advent Devotion – December 9, 2014 “Sharp Needles”

 

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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). 

 

“Sharp Needles”

December 9, 2014

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Read Isaiah 11:6-10.
They shall not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11:9I love the smell of fresh cut Christmas trees, but I’m not crazy about their sting. I was never a fan of those sharp needles. You reach in to string some lights or attach an ornament and ouch!

That’s one of the reasons my wife and I decided to go with an artificial tree when we started our own family Christmas traditions. You can reach in there all you want and know nothing will prick you.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the world was like that, especially this time of year? How wonderful it would be to go shopping and know people would be patient and polite. How refreshing it would be if you knew people wouldn’t cut you off to have that parking space or wrestle you over those “must-have” presents this Christmas?

I imagine most of us would like our homes to be oases of respect, safety, and peace. But here too the pressures of the season can cause tempers to be short, words to be sharp, and patience to wear thin.

Even in your church congregation there is undoubtedly stress and strife. Slights and insults are exchanged like Christmas cards; pessimism and doubt leads to discouragement and apathy; selfish pride leads to deep divisions that splinter us.

But that is why Jesus Christ — our brother and King — is here with us. He guides us in humility and meekness and teaches us to treat one another in the same way. He who came to this world as a little baby shared our humanity, our sorrows, and our disappointments. He suffered from the cruelty and murderous hatred of His own people. He wore a crown of thorns and died on the cross for all the sins we committed against our God and against one another. But now, risen from the dead, He works to bring healing, peace, and harmony to us and each one of our broken relationships.

Showing us the depth of His love in His holy Word He fosters love within our hearts toward one another. Forgiving our sins in our Baptism, He empowers us to forgive those who sin against us. Reminding us of the price He gladly paid for our salvation, He softens our hearts as He gives us His own body and blood to eat and to drink so that we gladly sacrifice ourselves for each other.

In Jesus Christ, God’s Word through Isaiah is fulfilled: “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD,” and nothing will hurt or destroy us on His holy mountain.

THE PRAYER: Holy Lord, tame our wild impulses, forgive our sins, and change our rebel hearts so that we may no longer cause any hurt or harm in Your holy house. We pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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