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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"A Different Mommy"

December 27, 2009

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Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

On a cold Chicago night, four-year-old Barbara climbed onto her father's lap and asked, "Daddy, why isn't my Mommy just like everybody else's mommy?"

Bob May stole a glance across his shabby two-room apartment. On the couch lay his wife, Evelyn, racked with cancer. For two years she had been bedridden and all Bob's income had gone to paying for her treatment.

How do you explain cancer, poverty, and differences to a child?

A copywriter for Montgomery Ward, Bob was deep in debt and depressed. Even so, that night he held his daughter near. Then, before he began, Bob prayed, he asked God to give him the words to answer his little girl's question. God gave Bob those words. This is how they came:

"Once upon a time there was a reindeer named Rudolph, the only reindeer in the world that had a big red nose. Naturally, people called him, Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer."

As Bob went on, he tried to share with little Barbara the knowledge that, even though some people and things are different, God has a purpose for them.

Bob's story continued: Rudolph and his family were embarrassed by his condition, and others laughed at him. Even so, the time came when Rudolph was called upon to be the point-reindeer for Santa's sleigh. And so it happened Rudolph became the most famous and beloved of all the reindeer.

When Bob was finished, his daughter laughed. Every night Barbara asked for the story to be retold and every night the father repeated the tale of Rudolph.

Eventually, Bob's wife died. And once again, Bob turned to God for help. Sitting at his desk in his lonely apartment he worked on "Rudolph." Through his tears, he worked at making the story into a poem, a Christmas gift for his daughter.

Barbara loved that story. So did the folks at Montgomery Ward. In 1938 Bob was asked to an employee's Christmas party. He took his poem and read it. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Just thought you might want to know how the Lord brought about one of our non-Biblical Christmas traditions.


From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"



THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for those who are in pain, may the Savior bring peace. For those who are lost, may He bestow direction and guidance. For all needs may You provide the proper and appropriate answer. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

Today's Bible Readings: Nehemiah 7-9    Revelation 18

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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