Pastor David Nehrenz
Dear Believers in our Lord Jesus,
Another new Christian Church Year will begin on The First Sunday in Advent, Dec. 2. Advent, Christmas, New Year’s and Epiphany. The Festival season is upon us! Let us rejoice and be merry!
The theme for our Advent Wednesday Vespers Services is “What Hope! An Eden Prophesied” from LSB Hymn 342 As St. John writes, (Revelation 2:7) “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”
Jesus was born in Bethlehem to bring us out from the tree of good and evil through the tree of the cross to eat from the tree of life in the new Garden of Eden, which is the paradise of God in heaven.
In a very real way He comes to us. He comes to forgive our sins and to give us eternal life! 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.
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! 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.
That flow of the new Church Year for this festival season is:
ADVENT Season – Dec. 2 through Dec. 24 (to Christmas Eve)-“Prophecies about Christ’s Coming”
CHRISTMAS Season – Dec. 25 Christmas Day through Jan. 6 (the 12 Days of Christmas) – “Jesus Comes – A Babe Born for the Jews”
EPIPHANY Season – begins on Jan. 6 – Epiphany Sunday – “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!
In our Advent King, Christmas Savior and Epiphany Light – Jesus,
Pastor David Nehrenz
NOTE: 1. 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, the Christmas Day Communion service, New Year’s Eve Communion service and the Epiphany of our Lord Communion Services (Sunday Jan. 6). Have this month’s church calendar on your refrigerator and make note of the dates and times. Come also to the every Sunday Divine services and receive God’s gracious gifts with joy and exaltation!
During Advent, use the Lutheran Hour Ministries Advent Devotional booklet entitled “The Coming King” 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 David Keating
The season after Pentecost is winding down, and Advent will soon be upon us. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, however, we have the Sunday of Thanksgiving nestled in between these two times in the church year. While this particular Sunday obviously was not included in the original liturgical life of the Church, given the almost 1600 year separation between Plymouth and the life of Christ, I have always felt it is a fitting transition as we move into Advent.
Thanksgiving is, after all, a time when we sit back and reflect on the gifts that we have received. The original Thanksgiving certainly stemmed from a place of deep gratitude given that the Pilgrims had been provided with what was needed to survive the harsh American winters. The autumn harvest of that year provided the assurance that life would grow and continue to develop in the new world.
The early Church thought of the season of Advent in much the same way. Advent was originally more closely related to the season of Lent. The pre-Christmas season was a time of repentance; of recognizing the deep need that sinful man had for a perfect savior who would heal the broken heart and wipe away every tear. In other words, Advent was a recognition of the gift of Christ that met a fundamental need in the lives of Christians.
This Thanksgiving I would encourage you to perhaps reflect on the way in which Christ meets our deepest spiritual needs, as well as reflect on the various good gifts of family, home, and possessions that God provides us within our day-to-day lives.
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. – 1 John 3:1a.
Vicar David Keating