And he (King Herod) sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found Him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship Him." Matthew 2:8
Pastor Klaus wrote this devotion before he left to lead a seminar in Germany. He prays God's blessings upon your Advent and requests your prayers for his safe return.
Look in on Herod's audience with the wise men. It's a study in contrasts.
You have the magi who had traveled a long distance to find the Savior and a king who simply couldn't be bothered. There are men who wish to worship the Christ Child and a king who wanted to kill Him. The list of dissimilarities goes on and on.
People have always reacted differently to the Savior and to His birth. At our house, the crèche is left up year round and in July Christmas carols are played on the stereo. Of course, we know it's not that way for everyone.
Some years ago, a survey asked people if they were looking forward to Christmas. While most answered, "Yes," far too many said, "No."
When pressed for an explanation, the "no" folks said things like this:
· "Christmas reminds us of things that ought to be, but are not."
· "Christmas is a time of love, but we feel very unloved."
· "Christmas is a time of giving, but we don't want to give, or can't afford to give."
· "Christmas is a family time, but there is anger and hostility within our family circles."
There is no question that those folks have some serious reasons for their sadness. On the other hand, it just might be they've been let down because the celebration of the Savior's birth has been moved down on their priority list.
If these folks looked for the Savior first -- if they saw the forgiveness He wins and the joy He bestows -- it just might be they would find the rest of the items on their list.
That is not just wishful thinking on my part.
Those who know Jesus find many things in their lives have been modified. They know they are loved; they see God's gifts, and the family time of Christmas is made larger by their new family of faith.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, this year among all the wishes and prayers, I ask this to be added to the list: may people be brought to see the Savior who changes the world, our lives, and our celebrations. May they see the Babe of Bethlehem, the Christ of the cross, and the Savior of the empty tomb. May they see and believe. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries