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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Just What I Needed"

December 25, 2011

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... The Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son, and you shall call His Name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." Matthew 1:20b-21

What do you want for Christmas? You don't have to ask children a second time. They know what they want for Christmas. Recent letters to Santa tell us what's on some wish lists:

• One child wrote to Santa and summarized: "I did not get what I wanted last time. My name is Penny and I am still living in the same house. There is a big number 40 on the door. Santa, let's get it straight."

• Another child named Morris minimized word usage when he made this simple request: "Dear Santa, I want one of everything you've got."

• Six-year-old Robert was a bit more directive when he sent his letter to Santa. His instructions were "I want a rifle, a pistol, a machine gun, a hand grenade, dynamite and tear gas. I am planning a big surprise for my big brother."

• Of course, there are children who are a bit more pragmatic. One girl wrote, "Dear Santa, me and my brother are not very happy this Christmas. Our daddy left home in the summer and has not sent any money. Plus my mom is sick and can't get out to work much. We don't have a tree this year, and I am afraid we won't have any presents at all. Will you please send just a little toy to my brother David to make him feel good? Thank you. From your friend, Sammy."

As the years change, so does our list of things we want for Christmas.

Thankfully, the Lord pays more attention to what we need, rather than what we say we want.

And what do we need?

The Lord answered that question when, in a dream, He spoke to Joseph, Jesus' step-father. He said, "Jesus will save His people from their sins."

A SAVIOR FROM SIN ~ THAT IS WHAT WE NEED.

The best and worst of us, the successful and the failures, the healthy and the sick, the young and the old -- all of us need a Savior because all of us are helpless to save ourselves. We need a Savior who will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

A Savior is what we need, and a Savior is what was given to us in Bethlehem. Seeing our helplessness to live a perfect life, resist temptation and defeat death, the Lord gave us what we needed: a Redeemer who would live the perfect life we could not, who would die the death we deserved, who would rise on the third day to show the world that death had been defeated.

Jesus is the gift humanity needs. He is the Savior whose birth Christians remember today.

Now let us pray that by the Holy Spirit's power and before another Christmas comes around, the lost of this world may be turned from the things they think they want, to the Savior the Lord knows they need.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for months we have heard the advertising world tell us what we should get for Christmas, if we want to be happy, successful or envied. Today I give thanks that You have, in the Person of Jesus, given me what I need: a Savior from sin. In the year to come may I share this great Gift with others. In my Savior's Name I ask it. Amen.

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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 1-3    Revelation 16

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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