Home > Reading > Daily Reading – December 29, 2023

Fifth Day of Christmas

By this point in the season, many of our friends and neighbors have taken down their Christmas decorations. What were once beautifully decorated Christmas trees are already put out on the street, ready to be picked up by the yard waste trucks. The holiday displays are long gone from many stores. But as Christians, we continue to celebrate the Christmas season. For us, Christmas is a full twelve days of joy leading us to the Epiphany of our Lord on January 6.
Hopefully, we are continuing to enjoy our Christmas gifts. After all, it was only five days ago. I’ve been thinking back to my childhood Christmases, the gifts I received from my parents, and which were my favorites. Like the question the teacher asked our class every year after Christmas break, “What was the best thing you got for Christmas?” Well, what was the best thing I got?
In the earliest years, I recall a really cool erector set with a crane. Other favorites included a traditional electric train, toy soldiers and my own G.I. Joe army uniform, an electric race car set, and one year the famous Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots! As I got older, there came strong competition from the miniature pool table and an in-home pinball machine. My parents really worked hard to provide my sisters and I great Christmas presents—but which present was really the very best?
Looking back on it now, it’s an easy question to answer. All during that time, my parents were very intentional about rearing us in the faith. They made sure we were baptized and confirmed. They made sure as a family we went to worship every Sunday and participated in Sunday school, vacation Bible school, youth group, etc. If the doors of our congregation were open, we were there. And it was there that the Almighty God used my parents to make sure I received the greatest Christmas present of all: faith in Jesus Christ. It was there Jesus first became real to me. It was there, as I abided in the Word made flesh and He abided in me, that the Holy Spirit gave and grew God’s free gift of faith in Jesus Christ. And this was not a gift that lasted only 12 days, or until I broke it or got tired of it. I have never outgrown it. This was and is a gift that is for all eternity!  And it is offered to everyone!
Do you want to know this baby born in Bethlehem as your Wonderful Counselor, your Mighty God, your everlasting Father, your Prince of Peace, your Savior? Do you want Jesus to reveal Himself to you? Then live and remain in His teaching and follow His commandments. In his gospel, John puts it this way, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him” (John 14:21, ESV, emphasis added). God’s Word is true. When we are intentional about spending time abiding in God’s Word, Jesus does reveal Himself to us.
We experience the literal truthfulness of today’s Scripture passage. Take time to read it again. What a gift—the greatest gift! Isn’t it exciting? For parents and grandparents, in fact, for all of us, we have the opportunity to be God’s instrument to give, to share, to remind others of the best Christmas gift of all!

Prayer: Almighty God, You have made yourself known in Your Son, Jesus the Messiah. We humbly ask You to remind us and inspire us every day to spend time abiding in Your Word and to share the greatest Christmas gift with others. In the Name of our Savior, and for the sake of His Gospel. Amen.

Devotion written by the Rev. Dr. William E. White

“Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1170”

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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