Prayers for a New Year – O Lord Christ, our Savior dear, Be Thou ever near us. Grant us now a glad new year. Amen. Jesus hear us!
Lord God, You made Your beloved Son, our Savior, subject to the Law and caused Him to shed His blood on our behalf. Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit that our hearts may be made pure from all sins; through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray.
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, You have poured into our hearts the true Light of Your incarnate Word. Grant that this Light may shine forth in our lives; 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.
For blessing on the Word – Lord God, bless Your Word wherever it is proclaimed. Make it a word of power and peace to convert those not yet Your own and to confirm those who have come to saving faith. May Your Word pass from the ear to the heart, from the heart to the lip, and from the lip to the life that, as You have promised, Your Word may achieve the purpose for which You send it; through Jesus Christ, my Lord.
A prayer before we study the Word – Almighty God, our heavenly Father, without Your help our labor is useless, and without Your light our search is in vain. Invigorate the study of Your holy Word that, by due diligence and right discernment, we may establish ourselves and others in Your holy faith.
There is no other Savior against sin and death, no one else to help in heaven or earth, than this singular child of the Virgin Mary named Jesus. Good works are to be done, but they are not Jesus, do not save, cannot rescue from death. This child, however, saves and rescues from death.
When we’re assaulted by ordinary earthly misfortunes, we can counter them most likely with the usual human resources. But when we lie at death’s door, then let go of all else, look only to this Savior, and say, “I know one doctor, advocate, emperor, king, pastor —namely, the child Jesus. He can and will save me from eternal death.” (Martin Luther)
Because of the calendar, Christmas 2 is not often observed. By the second Sunday after Christmas many of the decorations are already down, the festivities are over, the gifts have been put away, and Christmas is over and almost forgotten. Now that the hub-bub is over, we can get down to a serious consideration of the meaning of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. In Christ God blesses us with spiritual blessings and has made us sons and daughters through grace. We pray for wisdom as we enter a new year. The Savior entered time and space at Christmas. He will continue to guide our path and direct our steps throughout this New Year. Thus we are moved to pray, “Almighty God, You have filled us with the new light of the Word who became flesh and lived among us. Let the light of our faith shine in all that we do.”
Collect for Christmas 2—Almighty God You have poured into our hearts the true Light of Your incarnate Word. Grant that this Light may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen
Monday, December 29 2014—Psalm 147:1, 5, 11-12 - The Antiphon, is taken from John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen His glory the glory of the One and only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” — During this season of Christmas we see the full impact of Christ’s coming into this world. The Word existed before He became a man. Yet He comes to make His dwelling with us. He literally “tabernacles” with us. In Exodus 40:34-35 the Tent of Meeting was filled with the glory of God. Now He comes to dwell with us.
Tuesday, December 30 2014—Psalm 119:97-104—This section of Psalm 119 is dedicated to the Hebrew letter “Mem.” Meditating on God’s revelation yields the highest wisdom. As we meditate on the Lord’s words and promises we grow into a deeper understanding of the Lord. Are you thinking of making a New Year’s resolution? Will you keep it? The Lord always keeps His promises. He has bound Himself to His Word.
Wednesday, December 31 2014—1 Kings 3:4-15— As King Solomon begins his rule over Israel, he asks the Lord for an understanding heart. He could have asked for anything and received it, yet as he begins his reign as king he asks the Lord for discretion and discernment. See how the Lord responds in verse 13, “I will give you what you have not asked for.” See Jesus’ promise in Luke 12:31
Thursday, January 1 2015—Ephesians 1:3-14— Paul would remind us that Christ, the Word, blesses the faithful with sonship and wisdom. Verses 3-6 deal with praise to God for spiritual blessings which come with the gift of the Spirit. From eternity we are destined to be sons and daughters of God through the grace of Christ.
At Christmas we receive blessings. What is the nature of these blessings? We often feel blessed if the whole family got together, if the meals were plentiful, and if the gifts were abundant. Paul describes blessings of a Christian as “spiritual.” They are the blessings received in Christ and because of Christ. Some of the blessings are our being chosen as sons of God to be holy and blameless, faith in Christ, and love for others.
God has a destiny for you. He predestines us not to condemnation or hell but to life as His sons through Christ. It is God’s will for all of us to be saved, to have life, and to go to heaven. This was God’s will even before the world was created. To accomplish this, He sent His Son to the world to die for us that we might by faith become people of God. Though this is our divine destiny, we may reject God’s will and refuse sonship.
Friday, January 2, 2015—Luke 2:40-52— Imagine the horror Mary and Joseph went through as they spent three days searching for Jesus. Having traveled to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover the streets of the capital city were filled with a throng of people. It took three days to locate the boy; one day traveling away from Jerusalem, a second traveling back and a third looking for Him. Yet they found Jesus in the temple in the Father’s house. Jesus pointed to His personal duty to His Father in heaven. Even at the age of twelve He was aware of His unique relationship to God. He was also obedient to His earthly parents. A new year has begun. May we dedicate this year to the study of Scripture, weekly attendance at Bible study, worship and frequent reception of the Sacrament. We want to grow in the faith. The degree to which this can be accomplished is determined by the extent to which we use and expose ourselves to Christ’s Word. Notice that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men. As our youth mature they need to grow physically, cognitively, as well as spiritually.
Saturday, January 3, 2015— 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Corinthians 2:7-10 - The hymn of the day for Christmas 2 is Within the Father’s House (LSB 410). Paul mentions “mystery of godliness.” This phrase means the “revealed secret of true piety” that is the secret that produces piety in people. This secret is none other that Jesus Christ. His incarnation is the source of genuine piety. Has Jesus been born in you this Christmas season? By faith He dwells within you.
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LECTIONALRY PREACHING WORKBOOK SERIES B © 1981 John Brokhoff CSS Publishing Lima, OH