Today’s Christmas devotion is a selection from Martin Luther’s, Christmas Book, edited by Roland H. Bainton. These are some of the thoughts that Dr. Luther had as he pondered the blessings of Christmas from Luke 2:10-14.
“Fear not,” says the angel. I fear death, the judgment of God, the world, hunger and the like. The angel announces a Savior who will free us from fear. Not a word is said about our merits and works, but only of the gift we are to receive.
“For unto you is born this day,” that is, unto us. For our sakes he has taken flesh and blood from a woman, that his birth might become our birth. I too may boast that I am a son of Mary. This is the way to observe the feast – that Christ be formed in us. It is not enough that we should hear his story if the heart be closed. I must listen not to history, but to a gift. If I tell you that someone on a certain mountain peak has picked up a hundred gulden, you will say, ‘What is that to me?’ But if you are the one who has picked it up, you will be joyful! What is it to me if someone else has goods, honors, riches and a pretty wife? That does not touch the heart. But if you hear that this child is yours, that takes root, and a man becomes suddenly so strong that to him death and life are the same.
“And this shall be the sign to you: you shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” This is God’s wedding. Where is the castle? A cow stall, a manger with an ox and a donkey, a fine bridal bed, fit to lay a dog in! But the angels are not ashamed of it. They said, “You shall find him…lying in a manger.” The only present you need to bring to this wedding is a happy heart. God smiles and the host of heaven rejoices!
“And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host.” An innumerable multitude! There are more angels of heaven than blades of grass in all the gardens in the whole world. So many men have never lived on earth as there are angels in heaven. You would think that some of these angels might have gone to the baby Jesus to take him a golden cradle or a feather bed or some warm water. And why didn’t they?…See, what God did in heaven about this birth which the world despised and did not even see and know. The joy was so great that the angels could not stay in heaven, but had to break out and tell men on earth. The angels proclaimed to the shepherds, “tidings of great joy.” This is a mighty comfort to us. What the world despised, the angels honored. They would have had a much bigger celebration if God allowed them, but he wished to teach us through his Son to despise the pomp of the world.”
“And on earth, peace” sang the angels, “good will toward men.” The kingdom of Christ is a proclamation of peace and grace, as the angels sang that he should be the Savior of the whole world to free his people and save them from their sins. That he has done, and is still doing!…This is a fair, dear and precious assurance to troubled and tormented consciences laden with sins, that to them and to us all a Child is born who will rule and vindicate, who will help and not destroy, murder, strangle or kill.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for the Christ-child in the manger! Let me meditate on your precious grace, your holy truth, and your eternal forgiveness all the days of my life. Amen.
Pastor, Victory of the Lamb Lutheran Church
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1