TLH = The Lutheran Hymnal, 1941; WS = Worship Supplement 2000; LSB = Lutheran Service Book, 2006
The King is coming. But not just any King. He is the King of glory. Dear Holy Spirit, during this Advent time, open the gates of our hearts by Your Word, that Christ our King may enter in with His gifts of cleansing and peace.
Isaiah looks ahead to New Testament times when people from all nations will flock to the Mountain of the Lord, which is the Holy Christian Church. To this very day, countless millions find lasting peace on “God’s Mountain” through the good news of a Savior for all.
In picture language the Spirit gives beautiful names to the Redeemed of the Lord. He names us Hephzibah, meaning the Lord delights in us. He names us Beulah, meaning He rejoices over as His bride. By His grace we are His Holy people.
As we count the days to Christmas, we ponder anew the Father’s wondrous gift of His Son, our Savior. On account of Christ, God has made a new covenant with us, in which He forgives our iniquity and remembers our sins no more. This covenant is completely one-sided, and all by grace.
As sinners we have no righteousness of our own that could ever make us acceptable to God. But our gracious God comes to our rescue. He gives and credits us the righteousness of Jesus, naming Him “the LORD Our Righteousness.”
Movies like “It’s a Wonderful Life” depict so-called Christmas miracles. But these make-believe miracles are nothing compared to God’s true Christmas miracles, such as the miracle of a virgin giving birth to a Son, Who is none other than God with us! God’s
God speaks tenderly to His people with the assurance of sins paid for and forgiven. This Word of Gospel grace stands firm and secure forever. We can always be sure that our Savior/Shepherd will carry us close to His heart.
Centuries before the birth of Christ, Isaiah proclaims, “Be strong, and do not fear, your God will come.” At Christmas we celebrate the fact that, indeed, our God has come to save us. Do not fear, your God will come again; and then all sorrow and sighing will flee away forever.
At this time of year, because we are under pressure to get so much done, our sinfulness can come out in some very ugly ways. Now, and at all times, we poor sinners need Jesus’ grace-filled invitation. “Come to Me . . . you shall find rest for your souls.”
Old Testament believers awaited Christ’s first coming. We wait for the day of Christ’s return, but we don’t know when that will be. So keep a repentant watch, dear Christian, faithfully serving Him Who died so that you now have an everlasting inheritance.
Oh to have a “Mary” Christmas! A “Mary” Christmas is one in which we humbly confess our sinfulness, while rejoicing in God our Savior. When your focus is on the Mighty One who has done great things for you, then you will truly have a “Mary” Christmas!
Zacharias’ son was God’s choice to prepare the way for the world’s Savior. The world sat in hopeless darkness, but John would point to Jesus as the Light to guide sinners into the way of peace. Jesus is still the one and only Light in Whom we have true and lasting peace.
Repent! When we confess our sins, and then find full relief in the Savior’s forgiveness, fruits of repentance will naturally follow. Our faith in Jesus is a living thing, which, seeks to correct what is amiss in our lives. All praise to the Holy Spirit for the fruit He produces in our lives.
John sought no honor or glory for Himself. He gave all glory to Christ, Whose way he had come to prepare. His whole ministry was about pointing lost sinners to Christ. How blessed we are when God’s people are served by preachers like that.
God’s Christmas gift to the world is a sacrificial Lamb. “Christ, the heavenly Lamb, Takes all our sins away; A sacrifice of nobler name And richer blood than they . . . Believing, we rejoice To see the curse remove; We bless the Lamb with cheerful voice And sing His bleeding love.”
The angels sing the Gospel of a Savior born to bring peace between God and sinful man. This is good news. But the Gospel is much more than news. It is the very “power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”
Christmas is only five days away. Are you ready? Are you ready for Christ return? But when will that be? We don’t know. But one thing is sure: “Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” So wake up! “Cast off the works of darkness . . . and put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 1:1-31
A humble manger leads to a despised cross. For “Has not God chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty?” Though sin-tainted reason sees nothing worthwhile in a manger and a cross, faith sees in them God’s great answer to everything.
Christmas lights are all around us. These lights remind us that Christ is the Light of the world. But they also remind us that God has called us to reflect the light of Christ. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”
Christ was born to be both our Savior and our Shepherd. He is the caring Shepherd Who feeds us on His Word. He is the Shepherd Who leads us through the valley of the shadow of death. His shepherding will finally lead us to dwell in His house forever.
What’s in a name? Sometimes a great deal. Jesus’ name fits him to a tee. His very name means Savior! “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
“On Christmas night all Christians sing to hear the news the angels bring, on Christmas night all Christians sing to hear the news the angels bring, news of great joy, news of great mirth, news of our merciful King’s birth.”
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
God’s timing is always perfect. In the fullness of time God sent His Son. His Son was born under the law to redeem us, and to adopt us as His dear sons and daughters. But when will Christ come again? Exactly at the right time!
God’s saving grace has appeared to all people. His grace works powerfully in our lives, causing us to deny ungodliness, making us eager to do what is good. By His grace we also “wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
1 John 4:1-21
We draw to the end of another year with the needed assurance that God is love . His love sent His Son to be the propitiation [the satisfactory payment] for our sins. His love means life now and forever. May His perfect love cast away all fear in the coming year.
This life passes by so swiftly . We “are like grass which grows up in the morning . . .In the evening it is cut down and withers.” Clinging in faith to Christ our Savior we pray: “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”