I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which He is to be praised. Isaiah 63:7
Not so long ago, a man brought his boss home for dinner. Like many people of authority, the boss was patronizing, pompous, and pretentious! The little boy of the household, never having seen a man act in such a way, had difficulty tearing his eyes away from the boss. He stared at the head-honcho for almost the entire meal. Finally, the boss stopped and asked, “Young man, why do you keep looking at me like that?" The little boy shyly said, "My daddy says you are a self-made man." The boss was pleased to hear someone else had recognized what he had known about himself all along. He admitted that yes it was so; he was, indeed, a self-made man. Then the little boy asked, quite innocently, “Sir, I was wondering, if you are a self-made man, why did you make yourself like this?"
Why, indeed? Why do we as individuals, as communities, as countries, as the global human family do the things that we do? Why have we made ourselves the way we are? Every nation hates war, but at this moment there are wars. Every human being wants to live in peace and harmony, yet homes and households are torn by dissension and wracked by division. Why have we made ourselves the way we are? Why, after centuries of human struggling and striving for improvement, is every New Year ushered in with a dollop of hope and a mountain of fearful uncertainty? Why are we the way we are? The answer is simple: because we are sinful.
Because we are sinful, because we cannot pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps, we need a Savior. Only Jesus, the sinless Son of God, can bring true and lasting change to this world and to us. Christians who have Jesus as their Savior, who have looked into the Christmas cradle, who have seen Calvary’s cross and the empty tomb of Resurrection Sunday rejoice that they have a God who can shake the world –who can conquer evil with good and dispel the deepest darkness.
In Jesus, our days, and our years, are made new. We can meet each dawn with the presence of the Savior. Pain and problems will come, but with the help of the Redeemer, who has carried all our worries and woes upon His broad shoulders, we can emerge victorious. So, come what may, like the psalmist, we say, “I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which He is to be praised.”
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached on December 26, 2004
THE PRAYER: Gracious God, You are the giver of all good things. Because of You, I can emerge victorious. Open my eyes to all of your blessings today, so that my heart may overflow with thanksgiving. Amen.