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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"A Dark Beginning"

July 20, 2007

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When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under. Matthew 2:16

During the First World War, a new day was dawning on a battlefield in northern France. The sun was burning through a fog that had been so thick no one had been able to see more than a few yards beyond their own trenches. In the night, the Germans had drawn back their lines and the French had gone forward. Between the two positions a lonely farmhouse was still standing.

As the sun rose, heavy guns began to boom. Suddenly the firing ceased and there fell a strange, dead stillness. Midway between the trenches, near the shattered farmhouse, there was … no, it must be impossible! But it was not, for there in the green meadow, crawling on his hands and knees, was a baby, happy and contented. His laugh was heard as he played. Not a shot rang out from either side. This spot which had been an inferno of shot and shell, was now a peaceful island.

Suddenly a soldier jumped out of a trench and ran to where the child was crawling. He tenderly lifted him up and carried him back to shelter. Along both lines there rang out a mighty cheer. That little babe had brought peace to the battlefield, just as nearly 2,000 years ago, the Bethlehem baby, Jesus Christ—true man and true God—brought peace for humankind.

Of course there are some significant differences between the two infants. Jesus was not born for the purpose of bringing about an earthly absence of war. A world without hatred and violence will have to wait until we join Him in paradise. No, Jesus came into this sinful world so there might be peace for sinful souls.

As He lived His life for us—as He substituted Himself for us; as He died and rose for us—He became the bridge between humanity and His heavenly Father. Where there was darkness, Jesus brought light. Where there was sadness, the Savior brought joy. Where there had been death, He brought resurrection. There is one other difference we should note between Jesus and this baby of World War I. After the baby in our story was taken to safety, the soldiers once again took up their weapons. Jesus, on the other hand, was born for us so that He might bring peace, not for a few hours, but for eternity.

Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached on December 28, 2003

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for taking me to safety. Help me to share the good news of Your eternal peace with others. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Today's Bible Readings: 2 Kings 24-25    Acts 16:1-21

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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