Monday, December 21, 2009

Time in the Word - Christmas 1


The Firstborn Son of God Is Our Redemption from Sin and Death
When the Lord destroyed the firstborn sons of Egypt, He spared the sons of Israel by providing a lamb in their stead. Hence, all the firstborn sons belong to Him. Every firstborn male animal was sacrificed, and every firstborn son of man was redeemed (Ex. 13:12–13). Therefore, the parents of Jesus brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (Luke 2:22). However, He is not redeemed from priestly service but is consecrated for the redemption of Jerusalem and the consolation of Israel (Luke 2:25, 38). For God the Father did not spare His only-begotten Son, but offered Him up as the true Passover Lamb, in order to redeem His people from bondage. His Cross has caused many to stumble and fall, but His blood atoned for the sins of the world and delivers us from death. We now depart in the peace of Christ because we are also raised with Him. As we receive His body and blood, we join Simeon and Anna in giving thanks to God the Father through Him, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, including the Nunc Dimittis, with thankfulness in our hearts (Luke 2:28–32, 38; Col. 3:15–17).

Monday, 21 December 2009Psalm 98:1–4; Antiphon, Isaiah 52:10—The Introit for Sunday speaks of the salvation of the Lord. The antiphon proclaims all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. Salvation has been made known; salvation can be seen—seen in the incarnate Son of God, the infant Child born in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. Because of the steadfast love and faithfulness of our God, the Christ was born to be the salvation of all the world. This gives cause to Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!


Tuesday, 22 December 2009Psalm 111—Psalm 111 is a song of the highest praise. In the original Hebrew, every line of the psalm starts with a successive letter of the alphabet, a form of Hebrew poetry which serves to highlight the content of the psalm. The Lord is praised for all His great works, culminating in the fact that He sent redemption to his people. This He did by sending His Son into the world to be our substitute, to take upon Himself our sins, that we might receive the inheritance of the nations, namely eternal life with Him.


Wednesday, 23 December 2009Exodus 13:1–3a, 11–15—God commanded that the firstborn sons of the Israelites be consecrated—set apart—for special service to Him as a reminder of His grace and mercy toward His people. 1,440 years later, the only-begotten Son of God would be born into this world and consecrated for service to the Lord. He would render His service to His Father by rendering service to us in redeeming us from the curse of sin.


Thursday, 24 December 2009Colossians 3:12–17—Christ came into the world and became a man, that He might save man. By Baptism we have been incorporated into Him. How should we new creatures live? St Paul gives guidelines, which can be summarized by saying that our lives ought to reflect Christ. The only way that this is possible is for us to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, and to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly.


Friday, 25 December 2009Luke 2:22–40—Ancient Simeon had been promised that he would see the Lord’s salvation before he died. When Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the temple, that promise was fulfilled, and Simeon sang a song of praise, the Nunc Dimittis. It is fitting that we sing this same song after receiving the body and blood of our Lord in the Sacrament of the Altar, for we have seen—and partaken— of the salvation of the Lord, and are prepared for eternity with Him.


Saturday, 26 December 2009—The hymn of the day, Let All Together Praise Our God (LSB 389), praises God for the gift of His Son, Jesus, who has opened the gates of heaven for all who believe in Him.


Collect for the First Sunday after ChristmasO God, our Maker and Redeemer, You wonderfully created us and in the incarnation of Your Son yet more wondrously restored our human nature. Grant that we may ever be alive in Him who made Himself to be like us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


Collects for Christmas Eve (24 December): O God, You make us glad with the yearly remembrance of the birth of Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Grant that as we joyfully receive Him as our Redeemer, we may with sure confidence behold Him when He comes to be our Judge; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


O God, You make this most holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light. Grant that as we have known the mysteries of that Light on earth we may also come to the fullness of His joys in heaven; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.



Collects for the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord (25 December): Most merciful God, You gave Your eternal Word to become incarnate of the pure Virgin. Grant Your people grace to put away fleshly lusts, that they may be ready for Your visitation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Almighty God, grant that the birth of Your only-begotten Son in the flesh may set us free from the bondage of sin; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


Collect for the Feast of St Stephen, Martyr (26 December): Heavenly Father, in the midst of our sufferings for the sake of Christ grant us grace to follow the example of the first martyr, Stephen, that we also may look to the One who suffered and was crucified on our behalf and pray for those who do us wrong; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Collect for the Feast of St John, Apostle and Evangelist (27 December): Merciful Lord, cast the bright beams of Your light upon Your Church that we, being instructed in the doctrine of Your blessed apostle and evangelist John, may come to the light of everlasting life; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book, © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.
Woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der B├╝cher in Bilden [The Book of Books in Pictures])

This week's Time in the Word was written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning who serves St. John, Casey and Zion, Dexter, IA

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