Sunday, December 23, 2018

Time in the Word - Christmas 1

Preparation for next week, the First Sunday after Christmas 

Prayer for December 24, 2018Christmas EveO 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

Prayer for December 25, 2018Christmas DayAlmighty 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.

Prayer for December 26, 2018St. Stephen, MartyrHeavenly 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  
Prayer for December 27, 2018St. John, the EvangelistMerciful 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.

The theme for the First Sunday after Christmas is The Savior has Come. Coming within just a few days after Christmas, it reflects the spirit and emphasis of Christmas day. Because of this, Christmas 1 tends to be anti-climatic, a let–down from Christmas. This Sunday affords us an opportunity to enter into depth on the meaning of Christmas. This is usually not possible on Christmas, because it is a service of celebration, narration, and special music with much singing of carols. At this service, we now have an opportunity to consider the message of the Incarnation. This will be the last Sunday of the calendar year. Some may be apprehensive of what a new year might bring. In the Gospel lesson Simeon and Anna are very old and desire to depart this life. In the Christ child we find new hope, new life, and the hope of a new year with Christ.  

Monday, 24 December 2018Psalm 98:1-4; Antiphon, Isaiah 52:10—Christ has come. He has restored our human nature. Now we pray that we may ever be alive in Him as He has come to be obedient to the will of the Father by taking our nature to be our substitute and to follow the Law perfectly for us. We are called now to witness to the nations that they may see the salvation of our God. 

Tuesday, 25 December 2018—In Psalm 98 David tells us "sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things." This He has done. Jesus has done all things well. He has gotten for us the victory. What are we to do in light of these things? We are to join the Psalmist in His triumphant song. Sing to the Lord this week for He has done so many marvelous things! 

Wednesday, 26 December 2018Jeremiah 31:10-13—God promises to restore captive Israel with prosperity and rejoicing.  Why is there peace and joy during this holiday season? Why is there such happiness? Actually it's quite simple. There is peace and joy today because Jesus has brought about God's salvation to us. Just as the people at the time of Jeremiah were promised that they would be restored back to their homes from a time of captivity we now are at home completely restored and forgiven in Christ.

Thursday, 27 December 2018Hebrews 2:10-18—Christ identified with us that He might save us from sin and death.  There is only one way for us to receive reconciliation from God and that was for God Himself to identify with us. The writer to the Hebrews tells us how this all came about. It came about when Jesus Christ entered time and space. So what! A skeptical world might ask. Now sin has been dealt with as Christ has removed it once and for all. Now we have an advocate who will help us in our daily battles with sin and temptation in our day-to-day living. This is what makes the Christian faith practical. It works because Christ has worked everything out for us. 

Friday, 28 December 2018Luke 2:25-28—Simeon and Anna recognize Christ in the baby Jesus. When God makes a promise, He is bound to keep it. The Father had promised Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the Lord's Christ. 

The moment Mary and Joseph entered the temple, eight days after Jesus was born, Simeon's eyes were opened and he saw Jesus for what He was; He saw Jesus as His Redeemer and Savior. Do we see Jesus the same way that Simeon saw Jesus?  To fully appreciate Christmas we must have the same vision as this old, old man. May God grant us the faith to see Jesus as the only Savior of the world.

Saturday, 29 December 2018Psalm 90—Psalm 90 is the text for our sermon hymn tomorrow. David reflects on the various stages through life and He concludes that God has been our dwelling place throughout all generations.  From age to age God remains in control. Throughout life God remains constant. In just a few days we will welcome in a New Year. What will transpire in the next year? Only God knows but of this we can be sure God will establish the work of our hands. All will go according to His plan.  Our only prayer needs to be: "Thy will be done Lord, Thy will be done!" 
For Christmas – Grant, Almighty God, that the birth of Your only-begotten Son in human flesh may set us free, who through sin are held in bondage; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen.

For the Week Direct us, O Lord, in all our actions by Your gracious favor, and further us with Your continual help that in all our works, begun, continued, and ended in Your name, we may glorify Your holy name and finally by Your mercy receive eternal life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Prayer for newness of life in Christ - Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness and put upon ourselves the armor of light now in the time of this mortal life in which Your Son, Jesus Christ, came to visit us in great humility, that in the Last Day, when He shall come again in glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to life immortal; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book, © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.
Lutheran Worship, ©1980 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis,
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C, © 1979 J Brokhoff CSS Publishing Lima OH 
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

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