Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The year in review


Three news items garnered much discussion this past year. Wet and cool conditions prevented farmers throughout the mid-west from planting corn and soybeans. A window of dry days failed to materialize. The spring continued a trend of frequent precipitation that goes all the way back to the winter months. The longest stretch of days without any precipitation was just three days on several occasions.  What is incredible statistically is that the last time a string of more than three days in a row occurred without any precipitation at all was January 3 through 7 2019. That is nearly five months in a row or 150 days!  

In May, rain fell on 21 days that month. There was a consecutive three- day stretch of dry weather from May 5 to May 7. A second stretch of two consecutive days occurred on May 14 and 15. The fifteen-day period from May 16 to May 30 had at least a trace (less than 0.01 inches of rain on each day. With the greatest amount during that period being 0.55 inches on the 26th and that was also the greatest 24 – hour precipitation amount for the month.  Not until the end of June was there recorded four or more straight days without precipitation in northeast Indiana.   May, normally the wettest month of the year with 4.27 inches of rain, surprisingly, despite all the days with rain,  May 2019 fell nearly a half inch below normal.[1]
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After nearly two years of investigation special prosecutor Robert Mueller handed over to the Justice Department his findings regarding Russian intervention into the 2016 US election. The investigation produced 37 indictments; seven guilty pleas or convictions; and compelling evidence that the president obstructed justice on multiple occasions. Mueller also uncovered and referred 14 criminal matters to other components of the Department of Justice.[2] 
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On October 31 a split House of Representatives voted on rules on impeachment and by mid-December two articles of impeachment were drawn concerning the President’s actions toward the nation of Ukraine — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. For only the third time in US history the president was impeached by the House on 18 December. The vote progressed along party lines.   A trial in the Senate is scheduled to occur in early in 2020.
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How do we make sense of this world in which we live? As Christians we live by and through Christ’s cross.  You are sustained by God’s grace from beginning to end which leaves you free to be weak, honest, interdependent vulnerable, to love.

The source of all tragedy falls back to our first parents Adam and Eve.  They affected the whole of God’s creation. We now live in a broken and fallen world outside of Eden. Thus, we experience natural disasters, disease, and death. Consequently we occasionally find ourselves experiencing pain separation and loss.

It’s quite natural to experience feelings of abandonment when experiencing pain. Job certainly felt like God’s presence was very elusive, despite his belief that God was there.

We can take courage and comfort in the fact that we do not find an abandoning God in Scripture. Instead, we find a God whose ultimate desire is to care for and heal our wounds. The gospel message is that God desired to reconcile His people to Himself and was willing to do so even though He knew it would cost Him.

The cross is God’s ultimate expression of His love for His people. He knew He would have to allow and destine His Son to bear what was rightfully due those who killed His Son (Acts 2:23). This was God’s plan because of His mercy and love for His creation. There is no more powerful way to demonstrate love for another than to lay down your life for them (John 15:13).

There is no clearer display of God’s heart toward us than the cross. Surely we must conclude that God cares more deeply about us than we can imagine and as He was willing to remedy our greatest need through experiencing His greatest pain. We are not called to be successful, effective or efficient. We are called to a life of faithfulness. Faithful to Christ. Faithful to His Word. Faithful to each other.
Stat Crux Dum Volvitur Orbis” –“The cross of Christ stands while the world spins.” Even when steeples are falling. The word, which we use for “church,” is a translation of the Greek word, ‘ecclesia’ (Εκκλησία) meaning “a calling out one.” It never refers to a building. Or a meeting place. But always to a people. The ones “called out” of this world by God. Called into Christ’s service.

The message of Easter is a third person confession of faith. “Christ is risen, He is risen indeed!” It’s also a first person testimony. “I have seen the Lord” And this is the message those “called out” are to proclaim. It is all you need to hear. 

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD , and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD , that he might be glorified.” - Isaiah 61:1-3

It is the end of a year; an end of a decade. A new year awaits us. New challenges are before us.  As you reflect remember and recall the year just past may Christ continue to guide and sustain each of us in our journey together.
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[1] National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office – See Climatological Report (Seasonal) Issued by NWS Northern Indiana

[2] Key findings of the Mueller Report American Constitution Society - https://www.acslaw.org/projects/the-presidential-investigation-education-project/other-resources/key-findings-of-the-mueller-report/







Sunday, December 29, 2019

Christmas 2 Series A

Christmas 2
(5 January 2020)

1 Kings 3:4–15
Ephesians 1:3–14
Luke 2:40–52

The Lord Jesus Is Found in the Temple of His Church

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. 

The Lord Jesus “grew and became strong” (Luke 2:40); He “increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). As His body grew and developed, His mind also increased in knowledge and understanding. For as our brother in the flesh, that we might “have redemption through his blood” (Ephesians 1:7), He lived by faith in the Word of His Father. Thus, He was catechized by His parents, who took Him up “to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover” (Luke 2:41); and when He was of age, He gave attention to the Holy Scriptures in His Father’s house (Luke 2:46, 49). Christ Jesus is still found in His Church, in “the word of truth, the gospel,” by which we are adopted by His Father and sealed with His Spirit (Ephesians 1:5, 13). Thus do we gain “an understanding mind” to go about our vocations, discerning “between good and evil” (1 Kings 3:9). And so do we also go up to Jerusalem to stand “before the ark of the covenant of the Lord” (1 Kings 3:15), that is, in the Holy Communion of His body and blood.

Jesus Increased in Wisdom (Luke 2: 52a)
Rev. Dr. Daniel J Brege

Jesus walked upon this earth as wisdom personified.  So how is it that He grew in wisdom?  The answer no doubt lies in His State of Humiliation.  The Son of God became flesh and entered His State of Humiliation, wherein He did not fully or always use the divine powers communicated to His human nature.  One aspect of this is that as a “regular” human He had to grow, and He did not use His divine powers to enhance this growth.  Sunday’s Gospel describes His growth:  And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

He had to grow physically (“in stature”), for when He entered this world He started, like you and me, as a mere zygote. 
And being nourished like other babies in utero, He grew in the womb, then, nourished as all other humans, He grew as a child and ultimately He reached full manhood.  He also had to grow in His relationships with others (“in favor with God and man”).  He thus grew in His relationship to God, to family, to His immediate neighbors, to His fellow Jews and in His relationships to foreigners (such as the Romans) whom He encountered outside of Judaism.  Thirdly He had to grow in knowledge and wisdom.  The omniscient Son of God who could enter His State of Humiliation by virtue of His incarnation, had to be “schooled” by parents and rabbis, and as He thus grew in knowledge He—the one called wisdom in the Old Testament—grew in His wisdom…which especially included His fear, love and trust toward God, which was reflected in His relation to His neighbor.

It is apparent from Sunday’s Gospel that at age twelve Jesus knew His identity as the Son of God, for He asks His parents, Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?  Many have asked, “When and how did Jesus realize this identity as the eternal Son of God?”

Though we have no definitive answer to this, it seems apparent that—consistent with the aspects of His State of Humiliation—Jesus came to realize the fullness of His identity from His growth in God’s Word (our Old Testament).  No doubt Mary informed Him of His miraculous conception and of God’s Word to her, but then as He was schooled in the Scriptures He soon came to realize that these Holy Writings are about Him.  Certainly at His Baptism the Father revealed His eternal Sonship.  However, consistent with His State of Humiliation, He had already grown into this understanding.  For as He grew in wisdom, having also perfect understanding and a perfectly working mind, He—through the same Scripture that reveals God’s wisdom to us—fully grasped and remembered every prophecy and jot and tittle of Holy Scripture.  Since the Scriptures were primarily about the Messiah, Jesus at some point realized—through the same Word by which Timothy realized the Christ (2 Timothy 3:15)—that He is the long awaited Christ, God’s eternal Son.

Not only did the Lord Jesus realize His eternal identity, but He realized His destiny as mankind’s Savior.  From that very Temple where Jesus walked as a child of twelve, and in which He would hold forth also as an adult, Jesus Christ understood perfectly all the aspects of sacrifice, and with His perfect grasp of all biblical knowledge, he realized that these sacrifices in His Father’s house were perfectly portraying the sacrifice of Himself—in fact that was their purpose.  From the Jewish Scriptures He knew that He must be crucified.  Thus for us he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself (Heb. 9:26). Now in Him wisdom has been imparted to us, for He and His work of salvation bespeak and embody true wisdom.


Luke 2:40
Τὸ δὲ παιδίον ηὔξανεν καὶ ἐκραταιοῦτο πληρούμενον σοφίᾳ, καὶ χάρις θεοῦ ἦν ἐπ’ αὐτό.
And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.

The Boy Jesus in the Temple

Luke 2:41
Καὶ ἐπορεύοντο οἱ γονεῖς αὐτοῦ κατ’ ἔτος εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ τῇ ἑορτῇ τοῦ πάσχα.
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 

Luke 2:42
καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο ἐτῶν δώδεκα, ἀναβαινόντων [c]αὐτῶν κατὰ τὸ ἔθος τῆς ἑορτῆς 
And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 

Luke 2:43
καὶ τελειωσάντων τὰς ἡμέρας, ἐν τῷ ὑποστρέφειν αὐτοὺς ὑπέμεινεν Ἰησοῦς ὁ παῖς ἐν Ἰερουσαλήμ, καὶ οὐκ ἔγνωσαν οἱ γονεῖς αὐτοῦ.
And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 

Luke 2:44 
νομίσαντες δὲ αὐτὸν εἶναι ἐν τῇ συνοδίᾳ ἦλθον ἡμέρας ὁδὸν καὶ ἀνεζήτουν αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς συγγενεῦσιν καὶ τοῖς γνωστοῖς,
but supposing him to be in the group they went a day's journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances,

Luke 2:45
καὶ μὴ εὑρόντες ὑπέστρεψαν εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ ἀναζητοῦντες αὐτόν.
and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him.

Luke 2:46
καὶ ἐγένετο μετὰ ἡμέρας τρεῖς εὗρον αὐτὸν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ καθεζόμενον ἐν μέσῳ τῶν διδασκάλων καὶ ἀκούοντα αὐτῶν καὶ ἐπερωτῶντα αὐτούς
After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 

Luke 2:47
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες οἱ ἀκούοντες αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τῇ συνέσει καὶ ταῖς ἀποκρίσεσιν αὐτοῦ.
 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

Luke 2:48
καὶ ἰδόντες αὐτὸν ἐξεπλάγησαν, καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτὸν ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ• Τέκνον, τί ἐποίησας ἡμῖν οὕτως; ἰδοὺ ὁ πατήρ σου καὶ ἐγὼ ὀδυνώμενοι ἐζητοῦμέν σε.
And when his parents[a] saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.”

Luke 2:49
καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς• Τί ὅτι ἐζητεῖτέ με; οὐκ ᾔδειτε ὅτι ἐν τοῖς τοῦ πατρός μου δεῖ εἶναί με;
And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?”[b]  

Luke 2:50
καὶ αὐτοὶ οὐ συνῆκαν τὸ ῥῆμα ὃ ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῖς
And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 

Luke 2:51
καὶ κατέβη μετ’ αὐτῶν καὶ ἦλθεν εἰς Ναζαρὲθ, καὶ ἦν ὑποτασσόμενος αὐτοῖς. καὶ ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ διετήρει πάντα τὰ ῥήματα ταῦτα ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτῆς.
And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

Luke 2:52
Καὶ Ἰησοῦς προέκοπτεν [l]σοφίᾳ καὶ ἡλικίᾳ καὶ χάριτι παρὰ θεῷ καὶ ἀνθρώποις.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature[c] and in favor with God and man.


The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software

ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Image Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts “The Visit of the Magi” © WELS For personal or congregational use

LCMS lectionary summary series © 2016

Time in the Word - Christmas 2





The Lord Jesus Is Found in the Temple of His Church

The Lord Jesus “grew and became strong” (Luke 2:40); He “increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). As His body grew and developed, His mind also increased in knowledge and understanding. For as our brother in the flesh, that we might “have redemption through His blood” (Ephesians 1:7), He lived by faith in the Word of His Father. Thus, He was catechized by His parents, who took Him up “to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover” (Luke 2:41); and when He was of age, He gave attention to the Holy Scriptures in His Father’s house (Luke 2:46, 49). Christ Jesus is still found in His Church, in “the Word of truth, the Gospel,” by which we are adopted by His Father and sealed with His Spirit (Ephesians 1:5, 13). Thus do we gain “an understanding mind” to go about our vocations, discerning “between good and evil” (1 Kings 3:9). And so do we also go up to Jerusalem, to stand “before the ark of the covenant of the Lord” (1 Kings 3:15), that is, in the Holy Communion of His body and blood.

Collect for the Second Sunday after Christmas: 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.

Collect for the Feast of the Circumcision and Name of Jesus (1 January): 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, who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for the New Year: Eternal God, we commit to Your mercy and forgiveness the year now ending and commend to Your blessing and love the times yet to come. In the new year, abide among us with Your Holy Spirit that we may always trust in the saving name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Prayer for grace to receive the Word: Blessed Lord, You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning. Grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that, by patience and comfort of Your holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with Your and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Monday, 30 December 2019Psalm 147:1, 5, 11–12; Antiphon, John 1:14—The antiphon proclaims the mystery of the Incarnation: The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. In the original Greek, the word ‘dwelt’ is derived from word for ‘tabernacle’. That is, the God who dwelt with His people in the tabernacle in the wilderness, who delivered them from bondage in Egypt and brought them into the Promised Land—He is the same God that assumed flesh and dwelt with us as the God-man Jesus Christ, the same one who delivered us from our bondage to sin, and will, at the Last Day, take us into our Promised Land, eternal life with Him in heaven.

Tuesday, 31 December 2019Psalm 119:97–104—Psalm 119 is an example of Hebrew poetry, which is different than English poetry. First, the psalm is an acrostic: that is, every line of each section starts with the same Hebrew letter, in this case ‘mem’ (מ). Another characteristic of Hebrew poetry is parallelism, where the two halves of each line complement each other in some way. Here, we see that the second half of each line serves to amplify the thought in the first half. The psalmist proclaims that the Word of God is the source of wisdom; it rewards the one who meditates on it by making him wiser than my enemies and having more understanding than all my teachers. So, too, let us not fail to immerse ourselves in the study of God’s Word, for it is sweeter than honey to my mouth.

Wednesday, 1 January 20201 Kings 3:4–15—In the tale of Aladdin’s lamp, Aladdin desires and receives great riches from the genie in the lamp. If you could have anything your heart desired, what would it be? Power? Wealth? Long life? Solomon humbly asked the LORD for wisdom to rule God’s people well. His request was granted, and Solomon became the wisest man ever to have lived. Because of his altruistically wise request, the LORD also gave Solomon what he did not ask for: great riches and honor, far beyond any other king. 

We can benefit from Solomon’s wisdom in the books of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs. We can benefit from the wisdom of God in all 66 books of the Holy Bible.

Thursday, 2 January 2020Ephesians 1:3–14—Even if we seem to be lacking in worldly wealth or wisdom, we are assured that we, the elect of God, have a treasure far greater than anything on earth. We have the salvation planned by in eternity by God and won in time by Jesus Christ, who has redeemed us with His blood and forgiven us of our trespasses. Furthermore, He has bestowed upon us His Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our inheritance until the Last Day, when all His promises will be fulfilled.

Friday, 3 January 2020Luke 2:40–52—The Jewish rabbis were astounded by the teaching of this young Boy. How could such a One expound the Scriptures as He did? The antiphon from the Introit proclaims it well: The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The Word made flesh expounded the written Word to these great teachers. We have not only the written Word (Old Testament) that they had, but we also have the benefit of the Holy Gospels, the record of the words and the deeds of the Incarnate Word. Let us never take God’s Word for granted, but diligently ‘read, mark, learn, and inwardly digestit, so that ‘by patience and comfort of [God’s] holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life.’

Saturday, 4 January 2020Luke 2:41-52 - The Hymn of the Day is Within the Father’s House (Lutheran Service Book #410)It recounts the Gospel reading of the Boy Jesus in the temple, and then offers up a prayer in stanzas 5 and 6 that we, by grace, might grasp and hold to the mysteries of the Incarnation and the Holy Trinity till they are at last made fully known to us on that great day when our Lord returns in majesty and glory.

Sources: 
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Collect for Pentecost 24 from Lutheran Worship © Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C by John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing Lima OH
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas Day




Christmas - Series A
December 25, 2019
Christ is Born
Luke 2:1-20














The tension between church and state is a problem every generation faces. At the very beginning of Jesus’ life the state had its say. A “decree” an edict from Rome gave Jesus’ parents a difficult time: a long and difficult trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem – seventy miles at a time when the expectant mother needed to stay at home with family. The decree resulted in a stable for a delivery room and animals for attending nurses.

“Caesar” continued to be a problem for Jesus to the very end of his life. Jesus had said — “Render unto Caesar”; and so He was sentenced to death by one of Caesar’s men. Yet, on the other hand, the “decree” reminds us that Jesus came into a real world at a definite time and place. The incarnation is not a theory or myth or the product of human imagination. Christmas is rooted and grounded in time and space and in the events and context of history.


At Christmas God’s grace, that is, the undeserved love of God became a reality by the appearing of Jesus. He was just as real and human as you are. He was born and placed into a real family. He lived with and among people. He learned a trade by His step-father Joseph, and was nurtured by His mother.   The grace of God became flesh that we might see, hear, and feel God as a reality. Christianity is not a philosophy, not a program of activity, not a code of ethics, but a person. He walked and talked, laughed and cried, lived and died. In Jesus we see the love of God and He came to live with and among people. At His birth we witness His immediate family.

How does Jesus choose to make Himself known? Not in pomp and circumstance, not with grand fanfare and a flourish of light and sound. Instead, He chooses to be placed in a manger; the feeding trough of the animals. He is born in a stable, where beasts are kept. Not the place you would go looking to find the redeemer and savior of the world. Or, would you?

This is the amazing thing about our Savior - He chooses to be found in those places the world would least expect. He chooses to reveal Himself in those places the world considers unimportant. He chooses to exert His power in what an unbelieving world considers weak and of little consequence.

Seeing is believing. The shepherds found the Christ-child just as they had been promised. They sought out the infant and His parents where they were told to find Him.

Where do we find the Savior today? We find Him in those places only the Father has promised. We find Him in His message of the Gospel. We find Him in the reading of the Inspired Word. We find Him the waters of Holy Baptism. We find Him in His Meal, in His Word of Absolution, and hidden away in our own hearts.

If you are seeking Christ this Christmas you will find Him only in those places the Father has promised He would be found.  The Shepherds found Him – “just as it had been told them”. Why should you expect anything different?

Sometimes we can feel quite alone despite of our many activities. Yet, the message of the Savior’s birth comes to us with the same joy and expectation. “For you is born this day a Savior.” This is the greatest revelation known to man. This news calms our fears, removes our doubts and gives us hope. The Good News of the Savior’s birth which is promised for all people was given first to a lonely people. This message is given to you this day as the Father’s gift.

The shepherds were the first to hear of the birth of a Savior. Was it not strange that God sent the angel to tell the shepherds? Why not announce it to the important and powerful people of the world? Why not to kings and generals? Why not to Pharisees and Sadducees? The shepherds of Jesus’ day had a bad reputation as thieves. They were among the very poor and usually classified with publicans and prostitutes.

The poor seem to be God’s greatest concern. Jesus was born of poor peasants. Later Jesus taught, “Blessed are the poor....” As proof of His messiahship. He reported to John the Baptist, “The poor have the gospel preached to them.” Jesus’ birth is good news to the hungry, needy, deprived, and poor.

There was much excitement during the birth. You can see a nervous, frantic new father trying to be midwife to a woman having her first baby. Then came a group of shepherds asking questions and staring at the new baby in adoration. Later came the Wise Men. There was much talking, coming and going, chores to be done, and general confusion. While all this was going on, Mary His mother, pondered all these events and sayings.

What is the meaning of all this? Who is this new baby? What will he amount to? Christmas needs to be a time for reflection and meditation. For some Christmas is over in a day and then life goes on as before. If so, Christmas is only a mad rush and a state of confusion. For those who “ponder these things,” the cruel cross of Calvary always looms ahead of us - even on Christmas morning.

Does the death of a condemned man seem compelling enough to offer atonement? Could His life and sacrifice really save you?  The surroundings and the circumstances of His birth predict His death. They are the means by which we find peace with God and absolution for our sin.  
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Words- 975
Passive Sentences – 11%
Readability – 78.1%
Reading Level - 5.1
Image copyright © Ed Riojas Higher Things 

Monday, December 23, 2019

O Emmanuel


O God with Us

O Emmanuel, our King and lawgiver, for whom the nations wait, their only Savior, come Thou, O Lord our God, be our salvation.

P: Drop down ye heavens from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness;
C: Let the earth open and bring forth salvation.

The Collect

Stir up, we beseech Thee, O Lord, give ear to our prayers and lighten the darkness of our hearts by Thy gracious visitation; through Jesus Christ Thy Son, our Lord.


The congregation sings:

O Come, O Come EMMANUEL,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.



Image © Higher Things

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Christmas 1 Series A


Christmas 1 Series A 
  
Isaiah 63:7–14
Galatians 4:4–7
Matthew 2:13–23

The Lord Jesus Undergoes a New Exodus in Order to Save His People from Their Sins

O God, our Maker and Redeemer, You wonderfully created us aAnd in the incarnation of Your Son yet more wondrously resorted our human nature. Grant that we may ever be alive in Him who made Himself to be like us.  

Herod’s efforts to destroy the little Lord Jesus anticipate the cross for which He was born. In response to Herod’s edict, Joseph must “take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt” (Matthew 2:13). But the Lord does not abandon the holy family there. He brings about salvation for all people, just as He “had spoken by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I called my son’” (Matthew 2:15). With might and strength, God accompanies His people, causing “his glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses” (Isaiah 63:12). Now through Jesus, even our afflictions are borne by Christ on the cross. “He redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them” (Isaiah 63:9). All of this is accomplished by God’s might so that we, too, are claimed as members of His family. For we “receive adoption as sons” in the only-begotten Son, Christ Jesus, even as He became like us by His conception and birth of the woman. Thus redeemed by Christ, no longer slaves of sin and death but beloved children and heirs of God, we pray in Jesus’ name: “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:4–6).

-Matthew 2:13-23

The Flight into Egypt 

Matthew 2:13
Ἀναχωρησάντων δὲ αὐτῶν ἰδοὺ ἄγγελος κυρίου φαίνεται κατ’ ὄναρ τῷ Ἰωσὴφ λέγων• Ἐγερθεὶς παράλαβε τὸ παιδίον καὶ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ φεῦγε εἰς Αἴγυπτον, καὶ ἴσθι ἐκεῖ ἕως ἂν εἴπω σοι• μέλλει γὰρ Ἡρῴδης ζητεῖν τὸ παιδίον τοῦ ἀπολέσαι αὐτό.  
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him."

Matthew 2:14
ὁ δὲ ἐγερθεὶς παρέλαβε τὸ παιδίον καὶ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ νυκτὸς καὶ ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς Αἴγυπτον
And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt

Matthew 2:15
καὶ ἦν ἐκεῖ ἕως τῆς τελευτῆς Ἡρῴδου• ἵνα πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν ὑπὸ κυρίου διὰ τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος• Ἐξ Αἰγύπτου ἐκάλεσα τὸν υἱόν μου
and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt I called my son."

Herod Kills the Children 

Matthew 2:16 
Τότε Ἡρῴδης ἰδὼν ὅτι ἐνεπαίχθη ὑπὸ τῶν μάγων ἐθυμώθη λίαν, καὶ ἀποστείλας ἀνεῖλεν πάντας τοὺς παῖδας τοὺς ἐν Βηθλέεμ καὶ ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς ὁρίοις αὐτῆς ἀπὸ διετοῦς καὶ κατωτέρω, κατὰ τὸν χρόνον ὃν ἠκρίβωσεν παρὰ τῶν μάγων.
Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.

Matthew 2:17
τότε ἐπληρώθη τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Ἰερεμίου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος• 
Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

Matthew 2:18 
 Φωνὴ ἐν Ῥαμὰ ἠκούσθη, κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὀδυρμὸς πολύς• Ῥαχὴλ κλαίουσα τὰ τέκνα αὐτῆς, καὶ οὐκ ἤθελεν παρακληθῆναι ὅτι οὐκ εἰσίν.
"A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more." 

Return to Nazareth 

Matthew 2:19 
Τελευτήσαντος δὲ τοῦ Ἡρῴδου ἰδοὺ ἄγγελος κυρίου φαίνεται κατ’ ὄναρ τῷ Ἰωσὴφ ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ 
But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,

Matthew 2:20
λέγων• Ἐγερθεὶς παράλαβε τὸ παιδίον καὶ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ πορεύου εἰς γῆν Ἰσραήλ, τεθνήκασιν γὰρ οἱ ζητοῦντες τὴν ψυχὴν τοῦ παιδίου
saying, "Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead."

Matthew 2:21
ὁ δὲ ἐγερθεὶς παρέλαβε τὸ παιδίον καὶ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς γῆν Ἰσραήλ.  
And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.

The prophet Hosea {11:1} reminds us, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”` Originally God called the nation of Israel out Egypt in the time of Moses.  But Matthew, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit apples it also to Jesus. Matthew sees the history of Israel (God’s son) condensed in the life of Jesus (God’s unique Son)  Just as Israel as an infant nation wend down into Egypt, so the child Jesus went there. And as Israel was led by God out of Egypt, so also was Jesus.

Matthew 2:22
ἀκούσας δὲ ὅτι Ἀρχέλαος βασιλεύει τῆς Ἰουδαίας ἀντὶ [h]τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ Ἡρῴδου ἐφοβήθη ἐκεῖ ἀπελθεῖν• χρηματισθεὶς δὲ κατ’ ὄναρ ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη τῆς Γαλιλαίας
But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee.

Matthew 2:23
καὶ ἐλθὼν κατῴκησεν εἰς πόλιν λεγομένην Ναζαρέτ, ὅπως πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ τῶν προφητῶν ὅτι Ναζωραῖος κληθήσεται. 
And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene. -

A true friend of children is one who...
1. Is open to God's guidance - v13, Vv.19-20 
2. Is aware of the worlds threats - V.21 
3. Immediately obeys God - V.14

The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software

Image Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts “The Flight into Egypt” © WELS For personal or congregational use 

O King of Nations



O King of Nations

O King of Nations and their great desire, thou cornerstone who makest one of twain, as Thou has formed man from the ground, come now and save him.

P: Behold, the Lord shall come and all His saints with Him.  Alleluia!
C: And in that day the light shall be great.  Alleluia!

The Collect

Stir up, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy power and come, that they who trust in Thy mercy may speedily be delivered from all adversity; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.

The congregation sings:

O Come, DESIRE OF NATIONS bind,
In one the hearts of all mankind,
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And by Thyself our King of Peace,
Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Image © Higher Things

Time in the Word The Nativity of our Lord


Time in the Word: The Nativity of Our Lord
[This week, Time in the Word includes summaries of all the 
Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel readings appointed for 
Christmas, the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord.]



CHRISTMAS EVE
Collect for Christmas Eve: 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. T.: Isaiah 7:10–14 — Epistle: 1 John 4:7–16 — Gospel: Matthew 1:18–25

The Word of the Lord Is Fulfilled in the Flesh of Jesus

Though Ahaz would not ask, the Lord gives a sign to the House of David, that “the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Is. 7:14). With this promise He signifies that salvation is by His grace alone; it is no work or achievement of man, but the Lord’s own work and His free gift. The promise is fulfilled as the Son of God is conceived and born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the sign is received in faith by the House of David in the person of  Joseph (Matt. 1:20–24). “Incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary” (Nicene Creed), God is with us (Immanuel) in the flesh of Jesus, Mary’s Son. Joseph believes that Word of God and so demonstrates a marvelous example in his immediate and quiet obedience, taking Mary to be his wife and caring for her in faith and love. He loves her because the love of God is manifest in this, that “the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world,” “to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9–12).

CHRISTMAS MIDNIGHT
Collect for Christmas Midnight: 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.

O.T.: Isaiah 9:2–7 — Epistle: Titus 2:11–14 — Gospel: Luke 2:1–14 (15–20)

The Light of Christ Shines Forth in the Darkness

Heaven and earth rejoice on this night, because the glory of the Holy Trinity is manifested in the human birth of “our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13), through whom the Father’s grace and mercy permeate the world. Death’s silence is nullified by this “good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10). And all we who have gone astray like lost and wandering sheep, who have “walked in the darkness” of doubt, fear, and sinful unbelief, behold “a great light” in the nativity of Jesus Christ (Is. 9:2). In Him “the grace of God has appeared” (Titus 2:11). For this child of Mary who is born for us, this dear Son of God who is given to us, bears the burden of our sin and death in His own body on the cross. By initiating and fulfilling His earthly journey from nativity to crucifixion, Christ establishes a government of peace, “with justice and with righteousness,” which shall have no end; not by any work of man, but “the zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this” (Is. 9:7).

CHRISTMAS DAWN
Collect for Christmas Dawn: 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.

O.T.: Isaiah 62:10–12 — Epistle: Titus 3:4–7 — Gospel: Luke 2:(1–14) 15–20

Christ Jesus Reveals Himself in the Signs He Has Given to His Church

The Lord has not forsaken us. He has come to us and sought us out to save us (Is. 62:11–12), so that, “being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7). In Christ Jesus, conceived and born of Mary, “the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared” (Titus 3:4). Now He is lifted up in the Gospel, “a signal over the peoples” (Is. 62:10), that He might call us to rejoice in His salvation. St. Luke emphasizes the signs by which the shepherds once found Him: in Bethlehem, the City of David, “wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12). The same Lord Jesus reveals Himself to us in the sure and certain signs of His Gospel. His Church is a true Bethlehem (House of Bread); for the Son of David, “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11), feeds us with His Body and His Blood from the manger of His altar, wrapped in under and with bread and wine. We ponder these mysteries as we receive the Word of God and live out our vocations, “glorifying and praising God” (Luke 2:19–20).

CHRISTMAS DAY
Collect for Christmas Day: 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

O.T.: Isaiah 52:7–10 — Ep.: Hebrews 1:1–6 (7–12) — Gospel: John 1:1–14 (15–18)

The Living and Life-Giving Word of God Dwells Among Us in the Flesh

The Lord sends out His ministers of the Gospel to make disciples “of all the nations,” so that “all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” The Lord has “bared His holy arm” in the incarnate Christ (Is. 52:7, 10). The child in the manger, born of the Mary, is the very Word of God, the only-begotten Son of the Father, “whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom He also created the world” (Heb. 1:2). As “all things were made through Him” (John 1:3), so are all things redeemed and made new in Him. In his body of flesh and blood, we behold “the radiance of the glory of God” (Heb. 1:3), “glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). He dwells among us in peace, that we might have life and light and salvation in Him. For by His Word of the Gospel, we are born again as the children of God, bearing His name and sharing His eternal life. (In the picture at right, ὁλόγος is Greek for ‘the Word’).

Sources:
Lectionary summaries from LCMS Commission on Worship
Woodcuts by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden [The Book of Books in Pictures]) ©WELS.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House


Saturday, December 21, 2019

O Rising Sun



O Rising Sun

O rising orb of day, splendor of light eternal and sun of righteousness, come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

P: Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.
C: Our God shall come, Alleluia!

The Collect

Stir up, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our hearts to prepare the way of Thine only-begotten Son; that by His Advent we may be enabled to serve Thee with purified minds; through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.

The congregation sings:

O Come, Thou DAYSPRING from on high,
And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadow put to flight.
Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel
Shall come to Thee, O Israel.




Image © Higher Things

Advent 4



Advent 4 Series A
22 December 2019
Matthew 1:18-25
The High Cost of Christmas




Christmas is a costly even for many Americans. To buy gifts, they often go into debt which is not paid off for months. Though Christmas may be costly to us, think of the cost to God. Jesus was a precious gift. It cost God His all - while for us it only costs money!
Consider the high cost of Christmas –






I.    Cost Himself – “Emmanuel, God who is with us” V. 23 Throughout the course of his Gospel Matthew will quote the Old Testament. This is the first of 47 times Matthew will consult the Old Testament to tell us about the Savior. This quotation is from the prophet Isaiah (7:14)

At the time this prophecy was given originally it was spoken to king Ahaz as a sign not only that the Lord was with him but as a testimony that the Lord Himself would rescue king Ahaz from all of his enemies – even those who threatened to take his life.
The Lord who directed all of the affairs of His people sent His own Son into the world as the final fulfillment of all prophecy, for it was “God with us” in the fullest sense who came to be our substitute, to bear our sin, to die a death that we deserved.
God is very much involved in your salvation. He is not an absentee, runaway, Father. He does not abandon His people. To the contrary He has your well-being at stake. He involves Himself in your salvation. He orders your days and directs your path. He is very much involved in the lives of His children. 
Says the Psalmist, “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together…your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” – Psalm 139 selected verses 
Even before your parents knew you existed your heavenly Father knew all about you.  Your life is like a novel and the Father’s handwriting is on every page. The Lord knows your yesterdays and is planning your tomorrows. That’s how concerned He is with you.

Transition: How much did cost the Father at Christmas? It cost Him Himself. It cost Him humility.

II.     Cost humility – born of a virgin –V. 18 “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph. But before they came together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.”

A.  There was no physical union during the Jewish period of engagement but it was a much more binding relationship then a modern engagement and could be broken only by a certificate of divorce. Although they were “pledged to be married” Matthew uses the terms “husband” and “wife” of Mary and Joseph before they were married. Finding his fiancée pregnant, Joseph, being a righteous man, planned to divorce Mary quietly. However, in a dream an angel explained to Joseph that Mary’s child was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

B.   Before her marriage to Joseph Mary was “found” to be with child. In Mary’s day, it was a bombshell! It meant a divorce resulting in public shame and disgrace. The family of the girl would lose face in the community. The adulteress could have been stoned to death. It took an angel’s visit to get Joseph to accept a pregnant bride. In light of this, we must appreciate and admire the courage and devotion of Mary in consenting to be the mother of Christ. She took God at His word. He didn’t hesitate in becoming the Lord’s handmaiden. In humble obedience she submitted to the Father’s will.

Transition:  What was this divine cost at Christmas? How much did cost the Father at Christmas? It cost Him Himself. It cost Him humility. It came at the cost of a cross.

III.   Cost the cross – “He will save His people from their sin” – V. 21 The name Jesus (“Joshua”) means "God is Savior" The son of Mary was rightfully called that, because "He will save His people from their sins" - Matthew 1:21

A.   This Jesus would do by saving them... From the GUILT of sin.

1.   By offering His blood as the atonement for their sins - But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! -  Romans 5:8-9

2.   When one is washed by the blood of Jesus, He truly is their Savior. All of their sins, all of their transgressions, all of the faults and failings are forgiven and gone.

B.   From the POWER of sin

1.   By sending His sanctifying Spirit to help His people break sin's dominion. Without the Holy Spirit in your life it is impossible to please Him. But with His Spirit active and alive in you He is able to accomplish all that He desires for you.  You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. - 1 John 4:4

2.   Paul writes of this in Romans:  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it.  For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  – Romans 8.1, 12-14

C.   From the CONSEQUENCE of sin

1.   From the wrath of God to come on the last day.

2.   Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! - Romans 5:9

3.   Wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.  1 Thessalonians 1:9-10

D.   Ultimately, from the PRESENCE of sin

1.   When we depart to "be with the Lord" whether it is on the last day when He comes in glory or when He takes us by the hand and calls us individually to be with Him in glory.

2.   After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.  They were wearing white robes and were holding    palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:  “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” - Revelation 7:9-10

How much did it cost the Father at Christmas? It cost Him everything – yet it was priceless.  For in doing so He has won the world and redeemed everything in it.  
________________
Words- 1,250
Passive Sentences – 9%
Readability- 78.3%
Reading Level- 5.9
Advent Image copyright © Higher Things

Friday, December 20, 2019

O Key of David



O Key of David


O Key of David and Scepter of the House of Israel, who closeth portals and no one can open them, come thou and from his cell lead forth the captive who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.

P: Come, O Lord, and make no tarrying;
C: Loosen the bonds of the people Israel.

The Collect

Stir up, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the wills of Thy faithful people that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works may of Thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.


The congregation sings:

O Come, Thou KEY OF DAVID, Come,
And open wide our heav’nly home
Make swift the way that leads on high
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Image © Higher Things

Thursday, December 19, 2019

O Root of Jesse



O Root of Jesse



O Root of Jesse, who standest for an ensign of the people, before whom kings shall keep silent, to whom the nations shall offer their petitions, come to deliver us, wait not any longer.

P: Rejoice greatly, O Zion.
C: Behold, Thy King cometh.

The Collect

Stir up, we beseech Thee, Thy power and come and with great might strengthen us that by the help of Thy grace whatsoever is hindered by our sins may be speedily accomplished through Thy mercy and satisfaction; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


The congregation sings:

O Come, Thou ROD OF JESSE’S STEM,
From every foe deliver them,
That trust Thy mercy to save,
And give them vict’ry o’er the grave.
Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Image: © Higher Things

Morning Prayer Reading 75: Jesus is Born



Luke 2 
(Selective Verses)



The Birth of Jesus Christ


2 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when [a] Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, [b] who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.[c]

The Shepherds and the Angels
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”[d]

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Footnotes:
Luke 2:2 Or This was the registration before
Luke 2:5 That is, one legally pledged to be married
Luke 2:7 Or guest room
Luke 2:14 Some manuscripts peace, good will among men

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden (The Book of Books in Pictures). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

O Lord


O Lord, eternal and leader of the House of Israel, who didst appear to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and didst give the law to him on Sinai, come to redeem us by Thine outstretched arm.

P: Prepare ye the way of the Lord.  Alleluia!
C: Make His paths straight.  Alleluia!

The Collect

Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Thine only-begotten Son, that by His coming we may be enabled to serve Thee with pure minds; through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.


The congregation sings:

O Come, O Come, Thou LORD of Might,
Who to Thy Tribes on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times didst give the law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe,
Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.


Image © Higher Things