Pastor David Nehrenz
Dear Believers in our Advent King, Christmas Savior and Epiphany Light – Jesus,
Advent, Christmas, New Year’s and Epiphany. The Festival season is upon us! Let us rejoice and be merry! Another new Christian Church year will begin on The First Sunday in Advent, Dec. 3rd, 2017, not on Jan. 1st, 2018.
The theme for our Advent Wednesday Vespers Services is “Once He Came in Blessing,” LSB #333. As St. John writes, “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, full of grace and truth!” (John 1:1,14)
Jesus comes to us as the Gospel is preached, when we are baptized, when we are absolved, and when we commune at the Lord’s Table. In a very real way He comes to us. He comes to forgive our sins and to give us eternal life!
May our daily lives revolve around the cyclical flow of the Church Year and not be tossed around by the swift tides of modern fads and fake celebrations. We have the “real thing” as Christians! The real God, His real Son as the babe of Mary, the real Spirit who lives in our hearts. He has come to us!
The flow of the new Church Year for this festival season is:
Dec. 3rd – Dec. 24th (Christmas Eve)-
“Prophecies about Christ’s Coming”
Dec. 25th (Christmas Day) through Jan. 6th (the 12 Days of Christmas) –
“Jesus Comes – A Babe Born for the Jews”
Begins on Jan. 6th – Epiphany Day –
“Jesus Comes- A Star for the Gentile Magi”
The Light for the Jews and for us Gentile nations has come. Let heaven and earth rejoice!
Merry Advent-tide, Christmas-joy and Epiphany-light!
Pastor David Nehrenz
- Plan to attend all of our Festival Services: The three Wednesday Evening Advent Vespers services, the two Children’s Christmas worship programs, the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, the Christmas Eve Communion Service at 11:00 p.m. and Christmas Day Communion Service, New Year’s Eve Communion Service and Epiphany /Baptism of our Lord Communion Services (Sunday Jan. 7th ). Have this month’s church calendar on your refrigerator and make note of the dates and times. Come also every Sunday for the Divine Service and receive God’s gracious gifts with joy and exaltation!
- Join us at our Sunday morning Bible study at 9:15 a.m. entitled “The Book of Job – The Suffering and Consolation of the Christian.” Next to Genesis, the book of Job may be the oldest book in the Bible and gives amazing insights into God’s creation and how the Lord is with is in all suffering, to give us true consolation. Be with us this next Sunday!
During Advent, use the Lutheran Hour Ministries Advent Devotional booklet entitled “Love Came Down” as we prepare our hearts and minds for the celebration of the incarnation.
The message of Advent and Christmas is that God became a person in Jesus Christ, who was laid in a manger!
Vicar Keith Kettner
It’s the beginning of the Church year, the time when we focus specifically on the life (and eventual death) of our Lord and Savior Jesus. Advent is the season that celebrates the birth of the baby boy, the coming of Jesus to us in worship through the Word, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, and the final coming of Jesus to take our bodies to heaven.
If you think about it, the Jews had a much longer Advent than we could ever handle. They awaited the day when God would no longer have to dwell in a tent or a Temple but would reveal Himself through the seed of Eve, crushing the head of the devil for all time. Much of the last part of Exodus asks the question, “How will God dwell among us?” The Israelites have a deep desire to have God with them, but also a slight fear. A Holy God cannot dwell among an unholy people. Or so they thought. God instructed them to build the Tabernacle (and eventually the Temple) to shelter His presence.
In the New Testament, God dwells among His people in a far greater way, in the flesh and blood of a man. “’Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,’ (which means, God with us).” (Matthew 1:23) God has united Himself with mankind for all eternity. The Holy God has come to make the unholy people Holy again. That is why we sing about the baby boy lying in a manger. Now we have a clear picture of who God Himself is. We cannot clearly understand God as He is, but He has made Himself known in terms we can understand, human flesh and blood. God is sacrifice, mercy, and love. He bleeds for His people.
The Jews awaited the coming of Jesus for years. Now we celebrate what they longed for. Jesus has lived for us. Jesus has died for us. Jesus has risen again for us. Jesus dwells among us in His Word, in water, and in bread and wine as He comes to us in things we can understand. And one day, Jesus will dwell with us completely, and we will be like Him.
Vicar Keith Kettner