"Glory To God In The Highest"
December 28, 2011
My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He will pluck my feet out of the net. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. Psalms 25:15-18
AS WE ARE STILL LITURGICALLY IN THE CHRISTMAS SEASON, THIS WEEK'S DAILY DEVOTIONS WILL CONTINUE TO CENTER ON THE SAVIOR'S BIRTH AND LITTLE-KNOWN PIECES OF INFORMATION CONCERNING OUR CELEBRATION OF THAT SOUL-SAVING EVENT. PASTOR KEN KLAUS
Christmas customs can be a grand thing. Sadly, many of the reasons we practice them have been lost over the years.
One Australian custom of relatively recent vintage was born Christmas Eve, 1937.
It was on that date when a radio announcer saw an elderly woman sitting alone in her home, singing hymns to the music that was streaming from her radio. Believing there were many folks who might be alone on Christmas Eve, the announcer suggested they come together to sing carols by candlelight.
The following year 30 carolers and two soloists came together in Melbourne. The professional singers were accompanied by the local Fire Brigade Band.
I forgot to mention there were 10,000 volunteer carolers present as well: ten thousand.
Since then the number of people participating in Carols by Candlelight has grown. Newspapers print lyrics, folks bring a snack, and at dusk they light their candles and sing praises to the newborn King.
I like that custom.
I like it not just because it gives lonely people a chance to escape their aloneness on a special holiday. I like it because it gives us all a reminder of what Jesus can do.
The truth is every one of us is alone. True, we may have family and friends who love us and whom we love. But all of us are, at least in some ways, alone. We have our private fears, our secret sins, our moments of being misunderstood. Even more, each of us is going to face death and the hereafter all by ourselves. Like King David, we say, "I am lonely and afflicted."
This is where Jesus comes in.
Jesus spent much of His life alone, misunderstood and persecuted. This and everything else He did was designed to make sure that those who acknowledged Him as their Savior would never be by themselves -- not completely, not totally. His promise, "I am with you always," is God's divine assurance that the living Lord is by our side (see Matthew 28:20).
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, Heavenly Father, grant me the grace to appreciate the loneliness my Savior endured throughout His life. Then, with faith in the risen Christ, may I find comfort and security because I know -- even in the loneliest of times -- He is with me. This I pray in my Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries