"Putting Christ in Christmas"
December 26, 2014
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, "If you abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Every year, for one week in December, the Lutheran Hour Ministries-Thailand (LHMT) director and staff conduct a Christmas school outreach program at ten government schools.
When the Lutheran Hour Ministries-Thailand director and staff arrived at one school, they noticed a big Christmas party had already started. Silver and gold garlands were hanging over the classroom doors and windows. Pictures of Santa Claus, reindeer and Christmas trees decorated the walls. Red and white ribbons and streamers were gently blowing in a soft breeze.
As the students participated in some games and other fun activities, their laughter nearly drowned out the sound of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," which was being broadcast through the school's sound system. A small group of girls, who were wearing red and white stocking caps and red mittens, got on a makeshift stage. Within a few minutes they enthusiastically began a choreographed dance, accompanied by a recording of "Jingle Bells."
When the LHMT team was ready to present its program about the true meaning of Christmas, more than 600 students gathered on the floor.
For the next 90 minutes the LHMT team led them in singing songs, playing games, and doing some fun activities.
At some schools the team used a Christmas video; at other schools they did an activity in English. Using the letters of C-h-r-i-s-t-m-a-s, they told the story of how Jesus -- the Son of God -- was born as a baby, died for the sins of all people, and rose to life again. Through faith in Jesus a right relationship with God and the promise of eternity in heaven is available to all people.
It didn't matter that this was a government school and that none of the students and teachers were Christian. The LHMT team had been invited to share the true meaning of Christmas. At the end of the program, the school director stood in front of the room and thanked the LHMT team for coming.
Then he said, "I never knew that Christmas was about Jesus. I just heard some stories about Santa Claus. I'm sorry that I haven't been telling my students the correct meaning of Christmas. In the future I'll be sure to share that with them."
Without Christ, Christmas is just a fun holiday. Without Christ, more than 98 percent of the Thai people will have to continue working hard to pay for their sins through mistakenly following Buddhist teachings or trying to earn God's mercy through their Muslim beliefs.
With Christ there is forgiveness and freedom through God's free gift of grace.
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for coming to earth as a baby and earning eternal life for us on the cross. Reveal to the Thai people the truth of who You are. Let them know the truth, so they can be set free. In Your Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: The author of today's international devotion is Dennis Denow, who works as an LCMS missionary in Thailand and serves as the Asia Pacific Region education consultant. He is the husband of LHM-Thailand's Director, Monta Ekwanit Denow, and volunteers to teach English classes for the LHM-Thailand staff and occasionally assists with other LHMT projects. Lutheran Hour Ministries-Thailand focuses on sharing the Gospel and making contacts with local people through the Internet, Gospel text-messaging, various community radio programs, Equipping the Saints (ETS) evangelism training, and evangelistic outreach programs. Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), music CDs, animated VCDs, and print materials are used to encourage and help strengthen the faith of Thai Christians. The staff also conducts special children's activities and does presentations in many government schools. Known in Thailand as Journey Into Light (JIL), LHM's ministry center in Bangkok was established in 1991 and serves many individuals in this country of nearly 67 million.
You can read about LHM-Thailand's work in sharing Jesus with students in a school in Singburi by clicking here.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries