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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Troubled or Joyful about His Birth?"

January 7, 2004

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When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him… When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. Matthew 2:3,10

Herod was troubled at the news of a king’s birth. Known as the fox, he gained and kept power by clever politics and ruthless cruelty. He could not afford a pretender to his throne. So he sweet-talks the Wise Men about wanting to worship the newborn king and then prepares to slaughter the innocent children in Bethlehem.

Horrible, brutal – and yet, are we troubled at the Christ Child’s birth? Since Eden and the raised fist of rebellion against God, we have an obsession for power and a desire to be king – king of the snow hill, king or queen of the family with New Year’s Day television rights, top of the ladder at work. Sometimes we sweet-talk others to get our own way, and sometimes we resort to ruthless techniques with carefully chosen words and actions. So we may well be uncomfortable at the birth of a Child who is King of kings and Lord of lords.

Herod was troubled, but the Wise Men were overjoyed. They see the star at Bethlehem and rejoice “with exceeding great joy.” Their joy at finding the Infant King leads them to kneel down in worship and to bring Him costly gifts. They claim no kingship but honor Christ as King of their lives. Their source of joy: God’s good news fills them with joy.

How about you? Are you troubled like Herod or joyful like the Wise Men at His birth? Confessing our desire to be kings, we look to that same revelation of God. He speaks to us in the star, the Word, the water, the wafer and wine. He points us to a King who became a servant for us – born in a manger, nailed to a tree for our sins. God fills us with exceeding great joy. Our kingship discarded, we kneel to worship and bring the costly gifts of our very lives to Him.

PRAYER: Dear Father, may we always be joyful about the birth of Your Son. Thank You for sending Your Son to be our Savior from sin. Amen.

(Devotions from "My Daily Devotion" by Dr. Stephen J. Carter, copyright 1988, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. For ordering information, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit

Today's Bible Readings: Genesis 18-19    Matthew 6:1-18

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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