December 1, 2007
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24
All of our United States and Canadian readers and listeners know that the festival of Thanksgiving is over, and the hectic days of Christmas shopping have begun. The TV commercials have stepped things up a notch, the magazines are filled with advertisements, and familiar stores have taken on the appearance of a winter wonderland as they put on display a host of Christmas' elves, decorations, Santas, music, and lights.
These changes have not escaped our children, most of whom are anxiously waiting in line to visit Santa. Recently, a store Santa told me about one young boy who came to him and demanded, "Santa Claus, I want one of everything you've got." That request was only topped by another youngster who said last year, "I want a rifle, a pistol, a machine gun, a hand grenade, dynamite, and tear gas. I’m planning a big surprise for my big brother."
I'm not sure what kind of Christmas that big brother had last year. I hope it wasn't as bad as it sounded.
I do know that Christmas can be an intimidating, exhausting “bad time” for a lot of people who feel it their sacred duty to attack the days after Thanksgiving as hard as they can. They end up getting so worn out trying to get the right thing for the right person that they never have time to think about God's great Gift of grace, Jesus. This is why this devotion has a not-so-hidden warning: Before things get absolutely crazy, let’s remind ourselves to keep things in perspective.
Let’s focus not so much on our gifts to each other as much as God’s wonderful Gift to us. The manger, the cross, the empty tomb, that’s where we can find God’s perfect gifts to His blood-bought people. That’s where this season will find its truest meaning.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, help me to keep things in perspective this holiday season and always. May I never forget Your wonderful gift of salvation through Your Son, a gift that I receive by grace and faith. With a thankful heart, I pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries