And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!" Luke 2:13-14
It was Christmas 2015 and KLTV in Dallas was doing a human interest story.
Reporter Kim Leoffler interviewed veteran Deserea Hopkins for a story entitled, "East Texas Veteran Has Christmas with Kids after Years Apart." During the course of the interview Hopkins shared she had been deployed in Iran and Afghanistan. After telling her story, she confessed she was happy to be spending Christmas with her son -- the first time in three years.
Hopkins' story was moving, a real tear-jerker.
Oh, there's one other thing it was. It was a lie. Now it was true that Hopkins had been in the military, but only for a short time. Indeed, she never even made it through basic training. During the time she says she was overseas, she was living right in Texas, getting into some trouble with the law.
When her story was run, people who really knew Hopkins began calling the station and exposing her lies. It didn't take too long for the story to be pulled and have Hopkins exposed as a person who was guilty of a unique crime: stolen valor. Yes, as of last year, it is against the law for an individual to get rewarded because he claimed to have served, sacrificed and suffered for his country when he has not. In other words, only those who put in the days can get the pay and praise.
This is something the world ought to remember in regard to Jesus.
These last few weeks I have been listening carefully and have heard many companies, commercials and TV programs make the statement, "After all, that is what Christmas is all about."
They have said "giving" is what Christmas is all about. They have claimed "being with family is what Christmas is all about," and they have claimed finding happiness is what Christmas is all about. Now all these things are fine and good, but they are not what Christmas is all about.
Christmas is all about the Lord fulfilling His promise to send His Son to save a sinful world.
Christmas is all about Jesus Christ being born in Bethlehem as a human being, so He could carry our sins, fulfill God's laws, and offer His life upon a cross.
Christmas is the beginning of Jesus' life which ends not on a cross but continues through His resurrection, His ascension and, even now, has Him speaking words of reconciliation between lost humanity and His Heavenly Father.
That is what Christmas is all about, and anyone who makes it anything less is guilty of stealing the credit that belongs only to our Redeemer.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may I see clearly how the world would steal the Christmas glory which ought to only be directed toward Your Son for His successful work of saving me. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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