Great Expectations for Healing

Sometimes, I read a familiar Bible passage or story and it comes alive in a new way. This happened recently with the story of Naaman in 2 Kings 5, which I recall from childhood Sunday School as being a simple story of the faith of a servant girl leading to a man being healed of leprosy. As I read it as an adult, however, I can see that it gives us a dramatic account of how our expectations and God’s actions can collide.

A Tangled Ball of Lights

I find myself fighting with a tangled ball of lights year after year as we decorate the Christmas tree. Since we have had children, this has gotten extraordinarily difficult.

Are You in the Wilderness This Christmas?

You may ask, what is the “wilderness”? A wilderness is usually an experience that follows a season of highs. When Jesus was baptized (which was more accurately a coronation), He took His rightful place as the final and greatest king of Israel.

But as soon as the event was over, He was immediately thrown into a wilderness experience where He fasted for forty days while being tempted by Satan. (See Mark 1:9–13.) Wilderness experiences usually happen when you are at the end of your spiritual rope. They are times of seeking God’s will and direction for your life.

Books to Read with Your Kids This Christmas

Christmas is the best time of year to share the story of Jesus’ birth with your children! No matter the age or reading level, the Christmas story can be found in many different books for kids. From beautiful, lifelike pictures to singsong rhyming patterns, there are so many wonderful options to read with your child this Christmas.

Christmas Day Sermon by Norman Nagel

A very Merry Christmas to you! As we celebrate Jesus’ birth today, we read a portion of the Christmas Day sermon in Selected Sermons of Norman Nagel: From Valparaiso to St. Louis.

Whim Visits: Finding Spontaneity and a Little Less Loneliness this Christmas

One snowy December evening, three of the young adults from our congregation stopped over to visit . . . on a whim. Here is the beauty of a whim visit: it doesn’t leave time for me to consider whether I should clean the house, run to the grocery store, or even change the tablecloth. Whim Visits say, “I love you enough to have zero expectations. You don’t even have to let me in the house if you prefer.”

Devotion for the First Sunday after Christmas (Year B)

Today’s devotion focuses on the Epistle and comes from Concordia Commentary: Galatians.

Devotion for Christmas Day

Merry Christmas! Our devotion focuses on the Gospel of the day and comes from Meditations on the Gospels.

Hating the Holidays? It's not just Grinchery.

Dr. Seuss's "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" followed the tradition of casting holiday-dreaders as Scrooge-like, sour-souled sad sacks who became downers and “buzz-kills” for every Cindy Lou and Tiny Tim with eager and innocent holiday aspirations.

But a quiet group of holiday-dreaders dwells quietly behind the scenes.  You may be one of them.  You try not to be noticed, but you wince as Thanksgiving and Christmas draw near. Your heart is not two sizes too small; your heart is broken.

Free Christmas Marginalia for Bible Journaling

Just in time for Christmas, here are three new margins for you to use in your Journal Bible and Christmas hymn coloring pages. Enjoy!

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