Written by Pastor Tim Daub / January 2019
The Child born of Mary had visitors from both near and far.
Poor shepherds left their flocks to see Him that very evening. It’s a good thing they were abiding in nearby fields. They couldn’t have afforded much more of a trip.
But sometime later, wise men came following a star. These Magi traveled from a much farther distance, a costly journey indeed. But the nature of their gifts – gold, frankincense, and myrrh – showed that God had blessed them with the ability to afford it. And how they knew about a prophecy of a King born to a culture so far away, it reveals they must have had a privileged childhood to become such learned men.
You too have just been blessed by this newborn King. As you journeyed to your local CLC congregation, you heard once more that God sent His Son, born of a Virgin, to redeem you from sin, death, and the devil, and make you at peace with God. Through the proclamation of this Christmas Gospel, you received the forgiveness of sins anew.
In a way, you were like the shepherds. You most likely didn’t have to travel all that far to hear the story of the Baby in the manger. But in other ways, you are much more like the wise men. You were able to drive to church in comfort. You have been blessed with the wealth to celebrate Christ’s birth by giving gifts to family and friends. You have grown up privileged with a Christian education. You can even sit and read this devotion on Facebook from the luxury of your home WiFi.
God has blessed you with all the riches of the Magi and more.
But there are many, throughout the world, who don’t have such easy, instant access to the Gospel. They live in the lands those wise men came from but have none of their wealth.
Yet the Lord Jesus said they are coming to Him all the same, “that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down… in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 8:11).
How many children from India were able to be part of your Christmas Eve program or afford the trip to sit next to you in the pew? Many children in the east have never left their village. And they most certainly can’t learn about the Christchild sitting before the Hindu idol they walk past each day.
The Apostle Paul asks: “How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?” (Rom 10:14). Or in this case, how can they hear if they have no way of getting here?
That’s why God sends preachers. And that’s where you come in.
I pray you’ll consider being part of the CLC Mission Helper Trip this summer to India. You do have the resources to travel like the Magi. You are also wise in the Scriptures you have learned from your youth. And just as those from the east came to know Jesus by the light of the star, those who sit in eastern darkness today will come to know the Gospel through you, for Jesus says, “you are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14).
Children will journey to you on foot, like those shepherds, but they will depart with the wisdom you have to share “for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Tim. 3:15).
If you yourself have neither the resources nor strength for a journey like this, you know someone in your CLC congregation who does. Your encouragement could be divine blessing they need for the desire and willingness hidden in their heart to shine forth into the confidence to get on that plane!
The deadline is soon: January 7.
But the good news is that there still is room, both on this trip for you, and in the heavenly mansions for the many you’ll meet: http://mht.lutheranmissions.org/
And bid Thy Word within me
Shine as the fairest star;
Keep sin and all false doctrine
Forever from me far.
Help me confess Thee truly
And with Thy Christendom
Here own Thee King and Savior
And in the world to come. TLH 130:6