Jesus hung on a cross in unimaginable anguish and cried out, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Today, we hear similar words from Stephen as he was being stoned to death. Compassionate expressions were lifted up by Jesus and Stephen for the perpetrators of their suffering and death. Can we imagine expressing such compassion for those responsible, while on the cusp of death?
This is the week after Christmas. The gift we celebrated the last few days was fulfilled on the Resurrection Day of our Lord. Forgiveness, reconciliation, and new life are the gifts Jesus extended to all his faithful followers on that blessed day. In our reading for today, Stephen expressed the Easter and Christmas spirit which Jesus embodied throughout his earthly ministry.
Today, we are called by a loving and reconciling Spirit to spread God’s love, peace, and message of salvation throughout the world. We are approaching another New Year. What better way to begin it than with the spirit of Christmas and Easter in our hearts? Embrace the wondrous news of love and joy as the angels did and ring in the New Year heralding the name of our gracious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Lord God, King of heaven and earth, we give praise and glory to you in the highest and pray that you would bestow your favor upon us and eternally grant us your love, joy, and peace. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Rev. Robert V. Alle, NALC pastor.