It Never Gets Old

December 29, 2014

I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us – yes the many good things he has done for the house of Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses. He said, “Surely they are my people, sons who will not be false to me”; and so he became their Savior. In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. – Isaiah 63:7-9

There is a story you can tell of the New Year before it even unfolds. You can tell it because it will be the same story as last year. It is a story that is old and never gets old at the same time. Out of the overflow of the heart, you must tell it.

There will be sin in your New Year. And even if it is the same old story, it is anything but “ho-hum.” Just like the children of Israel when they were in slavery in Egypt or wandering in the desert of Sinai or doing their own thing during the period of the Judges, you will cry, kick, scream and complain in the New Year. You will doubt God, blame him, maybe even shake your fist at him, or worse. You will challenge God, “Why the bondage in my life? Why the aimless wandering? Why the chaos?” You know you will. You did it last year. So one day into the New Year, and you are already hanging your head in shame. Same pathetic story.

But then there is the other part of your story that never gets old. Again, you can tell it even before it unfolds in the New Year. God will see your distress, your pain, your fear, your frustration, and he will come to your rescue. Even in spite of your sin, he will do this. He will because you are his people, and he is your Savior. He will free you from your bondage with his forgiveness. He will give your life meaning with his promise of paradise. He will carry you through the chaos with his enduring love. You know he will. He did it last year. It’s the only reason you survived.

Is there a kindness or goodness or compassion that compares to your God and Lord? Not when you realize that what God continues to do for you each and every year, he did in the flesh, born in a manger, crucified on a cross, for sins the world. Yes, you have to say, “It never gets old.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, I praise you for your compassion and kindnesses to me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


First Sunday after Christmas

December 28, 2014

Order of Service Printed in Today’s Bulletin

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Christmas Day

December 25, 2014

Divine Service II, Page 158, Lutheran Worship

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Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

December 24, 2014

Divine Service I, Page 136, Lutheran Worship

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Christmas Eve Children’s Program

December 24, 2014

Order of Service Printed in the Bulletin

Welcome! Immanuel – God with Us

December 22, 2014

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. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” – which means, “God with us.” – Matthew 1:18-23

When the President enters a room, he is announced. Very often a band plays his song, “Hail to the Chief!” When he boards his special airplane, the pilot announces, “We are Air Force One!” That’s another way of telling all on board, “The President is with us on the aircraft!” On the ground, he travels in a specialized limo with hydraulic doors and thick bulletproof glass and police escort. He can’t go anywhere quietly. When the President is “with us” everyone knows.

We are nearing another celebration of Christmas and the birth of the Savior of the Nations. The King of kings was born and yet there was no pomp and circumstance. No band to play “Joy to the World, the Lord is Come!” Just a young couple, their newborn child and humble surroundings.

Yet the world got a new identification beginning that night in Bethlehem. “We are now God with us!” The prophets foretold it and now the time had come for fulfillment. God’s time was just right and he sent his Son to be “Immanuel.” No longer would sinners fly solo in this world, but now their Savior appeared on the scene.

The promises that God had spoken were now fulfilled in the baby named Jesus. God promised in Eden and to millions of people in the thousands of years after that God would come to earth to crush the power of the devil. And he came—God with us! Salvation is with us! We will be with God in heaven because Immanuel has been born. We have God’s promise of everlasting life because Jesus came.

Yes, Jesus came to be with us, to be for us. He came to die for us and to live with us forever! Now what response is fitting such love? Receive the King, Immanuel! Allow your hearts to fill with silent appreciation, then burst forth in joy. Roll out the red carpet! Strike up the band! Announce his birth and declare his love! Lift up your voices and sing! ‘Glory to the Newborn King!  Peace on Earth and Mercy Mild, God and sinners reconciled!’

Alleluia! It’s us with God because of God with us!

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for loving us enough to send Jesus to be God with us. Help us to live our lives in Christmas thanksgiving and Christmas joy throughout the year. Guide our steps that our lives might be fitting expressions of that joy you have put in our hearts. In the name of the Christ Child. Amen.

Fourth Sunday in Advent

December 21, 2014

Divine Service, Page 6, Hymnal Supplement 98

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