Monday, December 22, 2008

Time in the Word - Christmas 1

At last Christmas has come. It is the unspeakable gift of the Christ Child. On the first Sunday after Christmas we respond to the gift. The response is the theme of the Day. It is a natural result, God speaks and man answers; God acts and man reacts; Good gives and man give thanks. In the Gospel two old people Simeon and Anna, respond by recognizing Jesus and praising God for the experience. As a devout faithful, religious family, Joseph and Mary present Jesus in the temple when forty days old and make the offering of the poor. While they were in the temple an aged couple recognizes Jesus as the Messiah. Simeon had the insight to see in an infant the face of Christ. Now that the Messiah has come, he is ready to die in peace. At the same time Simeon has some “bad news” for Mary. He tells her of the future fate of the child and of her own suffering because of his fate. Likewise, there is an aged Anna, a prophetess. She spent her life in prayer, devotion, and genuine piety as she looked for the Messiah. When she saw the Christ-child, she gave thanks to God and declared to the people that this child was the Messiah.

Collect for Christmas 1O 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 we pray.

Monday, 22 December 2008Psalm 98:1–4; Antiphon, Isaiah 52:10—Both the antiphon and the body of the Introit proclaim that the Lord has made His salvation known to all the earth. The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem is the realization of God’s promises since the Fall of man to send a Savior, One who would deliver sinners from the tyranny of their transgressions. Therefore, we are exhorted to ‘make a joyful noise to the Lord…break forth into joyous song and sing praises.’

Tuesday, 23 December 2008Psalm 111—This song of high praise to God recounts all the blessings He has bestowed upon His people. First, the physical blessings: food; deliverance from enemies, commemorated by festivals and feasts that cause ‘His wondrous works to be remembered;’ the inheritance of the Promised Land. That redemption was accomplished by the Incarnation, Passion, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. ‘Holy and awesome is his name! His praise endures forever!’

Wednesday, 24 December 2008Isaiah 61:10—62:3—A hymn of praise for the coming salvation of the Lord. Though Isaiah wrote this some seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, he writes as though it were an accomplished fact. He can do so because the Lord is always reliable; nothing ever stops Him from fulfilling His promises.

Thursday, 25 December 2008Galatians 4:4–7—Contemporaries of Isaiah who believed his prophecies of the coming Savior may have become impatient when they didn’t see the fulfillment. Likewise, the many generations which lived and died before the birth of Christ. But Paul tells us that it was all according God’s plan, to His perfect sense of timing: ‘When the fullness of time had come…’ Because of the redemption purchased by His Son, we who were formerly enemies of God are now counted, not just as friends, but as sons! We acknowledge and delight in that fact every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, and address the almighty, holy God as ‘Our Father.’

Friday, 26 December 2008Luke 2:22–40—In the epistle, Paul told us that Jesus was ‘born under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law.’ Here we have the incarnate Son of God being brought to the temple for presentation, and for the purification of His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. This was in accord with the Law as recorded in Leviticus 12:2–8; the Law had to be fulfilled, not for His sake, but for ours, that we might be redeemed from the condemnation of the Law.

Saturday, 27 December 2008—The hymn of the day, Come, Thou Precious Ransom, Come (LSB 350), reminds us of the necessity of God coming into the flesh: to ransom all mankind from the penalty of sin. We have no hope of saving ourselves; it is only through the payment of Christ by His death that our sin could be atoned for.


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, © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

This month’s daily devotionals were written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning serving St. John, Dexter IA and Zion, Casey, IA congregations.

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