And she gave birth to her firstborn Son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
With Epiphany we come to the end of the Christmas celebration.
Over these last weeks we have talked about many things, but we have not spoken much about those who might say they had a "poor Christmas." When I say a poor Christmas, I mean those who did not have the financial wherewithal to celebrate, as they may have wished.
If that is your situation, may I say there are others who have been there with you? For example, in 1848, the members of John Fremont's expedition to the West were in Colorado. One man wrote down their Christmas dinner menu: "SOUP: mule tail. MEATS: mule steak, fried mule, mule chops, boiled mule, stewed mule, scrambled mule, mule on toast (without the toast), and mule with apple sauce (without the apple sauce). BEVERAGES: snow, snow water, water."
In the early 1800s the pioneers of the Great Plains wanted to decorate their Christmas trees, but they had no trees, so they decorated tumbleweeds.
Later on, those who lived in sod homes were poor, but they still gave each other gifts: a new saddle for dad, a rifle for junior, a new dress for mom. Of course, they had none of those things. They could only give each other pictures of the things cut from catalogs.
Yes, others have had poor Christmases, including a carpenter from Nazareth, his intended, and their newborn Child. They ended up celebrating that first Christmas in a stable, with all the sights, sounds and smells a stable provides. In those unsanitary conditions, God's Son -- our Savior -- was born and His first bed was an animal's feeding trough.
Still, because of the life which began that night, every person who is brought to faith in the Christ is given a rich Christmas.
Because of Jesus, we who were condemned by our sins are forgiven of every transgression.
Because of Jesus, we who were lost and alone now are given a family of faith and a heavenly home.
Because of Jesus we who were destined for damnation are given eternal life.
This means, in no matter what earthly, financial depression you may find yourself, this Christmas and every Christmas after this is truly a blessed one.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, because of Jesus I have been made rich beyond my imagining. As the years pass by, may I be ever mindful of Your great grace, which has changed my present and my eternity. This I pray in my Savior's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries