Read Matthew 11:25-30

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.—Matthew 11:28 (NRSV)

Every Christmas, my wife brings out a tattered recipe for Christmas pudding that she has made for almost four decades. She inherited the recipe, which my mother made for her family each Christmas. The much-loved recipe is faded, smudged, and stained. Yet it brings joy to our family every year.

By the time I reach the Christmas season at the end of the year, my heart is also tattered. Whatever joy I held at the beginning of the year has faded. The clarity of my vision is smudged. I am stained by letdowns, setbacks, and defeats.

That’s when I know it is time to bring out the well-loved story of the angel announcing Jesus’ birth in Luke chapter 2. The angel announcing the birth of Christ our Savior brings joy to our expectant hearts. After a hard year of challenge, stress, and struggle this is truly good news of great joy! God has never forgotten us and comes to renew us each year at Christmastime.

Prayer: Gracious God, after a hard year help us to remember the good news of Christ our Savior. May we discover in him the fullness of your joy. Amen.

Thought for the day: The season’s news is good—Christ is born to us!

—Graham N. West, Wisconsin