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"If One Goes Out They All Go Out"

Read Isaiah 35:8-10.
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion
with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they
shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall
flee away. Isaiah 35:10

I have a love-hate relationship with my Christmas lights. I love
them when they work. I hate them when they don't. Sometimes
a single bulb goes dark; sometimes it's a section; sometimes
it's the whole string. Often they are all working when you put
them up. But then, usually on a dark night when snow is falling,
the temperature is dropping, and a cold wind is blowing, you
look up to admire them and you see some of them are unlit.

When I was a kid miniature bulbs had one huge drawback-the
electric current had to run all the way through each and every
bulb or it wouldn't run through any of them. So if one bulb went
out, they all went out. Sometimes our joy at Christ's birth
seems like that. We get the idea we will only have a great
Christmas if everything goes perfectly. But if one part of life
goes badly, it steals the joy and leaves us in darkness.

But vast improvements in miniature bulb strings have been
made since I was a kid. Now, when a bulb burns out, current
still runs through the base of that bulb to the next. As a result,
you may have lights burned out, but the rest will keep shining.

Odds are this Christmas won't find everything perfect in your
life. You may have good health and a good job, but are
struggling with relationship problems. Your family may get
along fine, but you're having troubles paying your bills. It might
be everything else is good, but this is the first Christmas
since a loved one died and it just doesn't feel like Christmas
without him or her.

It's hard to keep from letting one problem crowd out our joy and
thankfulness. It's hard, that is, until you stop and think about the
first Christmas. Joseph and Mary were not wealthy people. And
since there was no room to lodge, they had to wrap Jesus in
swaddling cloths and lay Him in a manger-a rough feeding trough.
But the lack of a crib did not diminish the joy of that first
Christmas. The joy still shone through because the Son of God,
the Savior of the world, was here.

On that first Christmas, Jesus Christ began sharing our sorrows,
our problems, our pains, and our sufferings. Eventually He shared
our death and God's wrath. But through His perfect life and
innocent suffering and death, He conquered our death and won for
us eternal life. Until His glorious return to this earth, our lives will
not be perfect and neither will our Christmases. But He will change
all of that upon His return. Never again will there be sorrow, loss,
grief, suffering, or pain. All of that will flee in His glorious presence,
and we will be crowned with eternal joy and gladness.


 Lord Jesus, because of Your great sacrifice, I have reason to rejoice
and be glad all the days of my life. Comfort me in my sorrows this
Christmas. Please open my eyes to see those who suffer around me
so I can offer them that same comfort. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

(Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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