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The Nativity of Our Lord: Christmas Day

Greetings on this most holy day in the life of the Church, this most significant day in the history of our world. Without question, Christmas is the single-most important event that has ever happened. God became one of us. Jesus took on our human flesh. In so doing, He made it clear that our lives are of eternal value to Him.As a result, people throughout the world are remembering and celebrating the birth of Christ. There is more activity on this one day, tied to the work and actions of God, in Christ, than any other day in the entire year. 
Yet in spite of the many celebrations taking place, and the things we do to remember the birth of Jesus, today is a day centered not in the activities of our lives and the things we do to remember Him, but in the actions He took and the things He did in remembering us.
The passage for today comes at the close of the ministry of John the Baptist. John was the forerunner of Jesus. His calling was to prepare the way for Christ. He baptized. He taught. He called people to repent of their sin. Ultimately, his ministry was to lead people to Jesus.
As a result, his ministry came to a close as the ministry of Jesus began. From that moment on, the spotlight was on Jesus. And from that moment on, the entire biblical witness, as it had been throughout all of Salvation history, was centered and focused in Christ.
John states clearly the essential difference between his own ministry and that of Jesus. “The one who is from the earth” (speaking of himself) “belongs to the earth and speaks as one from the earth”; “The one who comes from heaven” (speaking of Christ) “is above al l… For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God … (and) the Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.”
In other words, this world belongs to God. God has been in control from the beginning of time. And from the beginning of time, God had planned and purposed that He would save the world in Jesus.
And so, He did, by sending His Son to become one of us. When the Christ-child was born in Bethlehem, God sent a clear and consistent message that our lives matter to God. Not for the moment. Not for a given and limited time. But for eternity.
Everything in your life matters to God. Everything in your life is known by God. All of your mistakes and misdeeds. Everything in your life that would have separated you from Him. God knows it all. He knows everything you have done. And, yet, He still loves and cares for you. And He always will.
Much of our world does not know or understand the significance of this day. Many people in our world are unaware of what this day is all about. Let it not be so with you. God came into this world for you. He has loved you from the beginning of time, from before the time when you were even born, and He always will.
May God bless you on this most holy day, and may the blessings of God, revealed to us most clearly in the person of Jesus, continue to give you strength and encouragement to live for Him.

Prayer: Father, we thank You for this day and for the saving work You accomplished for us in Jesus. Help us to trust in Him, not only on this day when we celebrate His birth, but each day until You call us home eternally to live with You. In His name we pray. Amen.

Devotion written by The Rev. Dr. Daniel W. Selbo

This daily prayer and Bible reading guide, Devoted to Prayer (based on Acts 2:42), was conceived and prepared by the Rev. Andrew S. Ames Fuller, director of communications for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). After several challenging years in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been provided with a unique opportunity to revitalize the ancient practice of daily prayer and Scripture reading in our homes. While the Reading the Word of God three-year lectionary provided a much-needed and refreshing calendar for our congregations to engage in Scripture reading, this calendar includes a missing component of daily devotion: prayer. This guide is to provide the average layperson and pastor with the simple tools for sorting through the busyness of their lives and reclaiming an act of daily discipleship with their Lord. The daily readings follow the Lutheran Book of Worship two-year daily lectionary, which reflect the church calendar closely. The commemorations are adapted from Philip H. Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, a proposed common calendar of the saints that builds from the Lutheran Book of Worship, but includes saints from many of those churches in ecumenical conversation with the NALC. The introductory portion is adapted from Christ Church (Plano)’s Pray Daily. Our hope is that this calendar and guide will provide new life for congregations learning and re-learning to pray in the midst of a difficult and changing world.

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