Monday, December 15, 2008

Time in the Word Advent 4

Advent 4 is on the threshold of Christmas. After weeks of preparation by prayer and repentance the time has come to receive the Christ. Gabriel in the Gospel tells Mary that she is to be the mother of Christ. What Gabriel says about the child fulfills the promises to David in the Old Testament lesson – a great name and an eternal kingdom. Paul in the Epistle lesson declares that the mystery of God was revealed in Christ and the writings of the prophets. The Hymn of the Day is an outburst of joy over the coming Emmanuel.

Collect for Advent 4Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come and help us by Your might, that the sins which weigh us down may be quickly lifted by Your grace and mercy; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Monday, 15 December 2008—Psalm 19:1, 4c, 5–6; Antiphon, Isaiah 45:8a, b—The antiphon asks that God would open the heavens and ‘let the clouds rain down righteousness,’ and that, correspondingly, He would open the earth, ‘that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit.’ Both of these things have come to pass. When the Son of God assumed flesh, and came to earth to be born a man, righteousness rained down. And this was not without effect, for He brought salvation which bears fruit in believers, as they live out their righteousness in Christ.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008—Psalm 89:1–5—What is the believer’s response to all that the Lord has done for us through Christ? ‘I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.’ In doing so, we join the throngs in heaven (v. 5), just as we say in the Preface to the Lord’s Supper, ‘with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Your glorious name, evermore praising You…’
Wednesday, 17 December 2008—2 Samuel 7:1–11, 16—King David’s desire was to build a permanent structure for the Ark of the Covenant, that is a permanent place for God to reside with His people. But the Lord tells David that He will establish a ‘house’ and a kingdom for David, which shall have no end. We are not to look to Israel for fulfillment of God’s promise, but to David’s Descendant, Christ Jesus, who has established His throne of dominion forever, by His defeat of sin, death, and the devil at Calvary.
Thursday, 18 December 2008—Romans 16:25–27—A fitting end to the book of Romans, in which St. Paul has so clearly proclaimed Christ as the Savior of the world, apart from works, this doxology (hymn of praise) is especially appropriate during this Advent season, as we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ, who ‘has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations.’
Friday, 19 December 2008—Luke 1:26–38—What a shock it must have been for this pious young woman to learn that she, not having known a man, would give birth to a baby boy. And no ordinary boy, but God Himself, the second Person of the Trinity! Due to the miracle wrought through the Holy Spirit, the Child born would be ‘true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary.’ The Blessed Virgin is, therefore, truly the Mother of God, and her Son, the Savior of mankind, is properly named ‘Jesus,’ that is, ‘Yahweh saves.’
Saturday, 20 December 2008—The hymn of the day, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (LSB 357), is an ancient hymn based upon seven even more ancient antiphons (called the ‘O’ Antiphons) which were used in the Office at Vespers (the evening office) during the last seven days of Advent. Each antiphon and each hymn stanza refers to a different title for Christ: Wisdom, Adonai (‘Lord’), Root (or Branch) of Jesse, Key of David, Dayspring, King of Nations, Emmanuel (‘God with Us’).
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO


Luther’s Works: American Edit Edition. 55 volumes. (Volumes 1-30, Concordia Publishing House; volumes 31 31-55, Fortress Press)

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts Zachariah names John, Jesus feeds the 5,000 © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

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