December 19, 2009
. . . Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:5b
For many people, Christmas is a wonderful time.
But there are others for whom the celebration of the Savior's birth is filled with plans uncompleted and intentions unrealized. That's the way it was the first year Christmas was celebrated in the Western Hemisphere.
Christopher Columbus, having rediscovered the New World, planned a festive Christmas celebration for his three ships.
Those plans were set aside when the Santa Maria was wrecked off the coast of Haiti. Rather than celebrating, Columbus and his men were forced to build a fort for the 40 men who could not be taken back to Spain aboard his two smaller ships.
They called the fort: "La Natividad," the Spanish word for nativity.
The best the men could do was pause a moment in their emergency work to utter a Christmas prayer and a word of thanks.
Columbus returned from Spain in the fall of 1493. His first order of business was to find La Natividad and the men he had left behind. Sadly, they had all disappeared without a trace, and all that was left of the fort were a few timbers.
All of us at Lutheran Hour Ministries and the Klaus Haus pray that this Christmas will be a most blessed one for you. It is our hope your celebration of the Savior's birth will not be marked or marred by the unpleasantries, which sin -- and Satan -- like to inflict.
Still, we know there are those who will -- because of financial situations, health problems, family difficulties, and for a host of other causes -- find their Christmas plans changed.
If that describes your situation or your Christmas this year, please remember this: 2,000 years ago the Lord Jesus was born into an imperfect world, a world of sadness, sorrow, and sin. Jesus came into the midst of our mess to change it, reclaim it, and save us.
Jesus comes to the midst of our messes, and He can transform those messes. He can bring good out of bad and hope out of sadness.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear precious Lord, because of Your birth, Your life, Your death, and Your resurrection our sins are forgiven and our sadness and sorrow can be transformed. Today I pray for those whose Christmas has been touched by the wretchedness of the world. Send Your Holy Spirit to watch over and strengthen these folks. For them I pray, doing so in Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries