Pastor David Nehrenz
Dear Saints in our Lord Jesus,
Another new Christian Church Year will begin on The First Sunday in Advent, Dec. 1. The Festival season is upon us- Advent, Christmas, New Year’s and Epiphany. Let us rejoice and be glad!
The theme for our Advent Wednesday Vespers services is “Hark! A Thrilling Voice is Sounding” from LSB Hymn 345. John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus the Christ by crying out with a thrilling voice!
As Malachi the prophet writes in (Mal. 3:1-4) “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.”
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but through the means of grace 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.
God, through His Son the babe of Mary, by the Spirit who lives in our hearts, 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. 1 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 – “Jesus Comes – A Star for the Gentile Magi”
(Jan. 6 is Epiphany but we will celebrate it on Sunday Jan. 5)
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. 5). 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 with the theme: “Call His Name Jesus” 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. His given name is Jesus, which is the name Yeshua or Joshua, and means “the Lord saves.” Jesus is our only Savior from sin, death and hell. He gives us righteousness, life and heaven.
Vicar Rob Schrader
Being new to Oklahoma, I have noticed that the weather can change quite abruptly. I had a man tell me yesterday that sometimes Norman will experience all four seasons in a single day! It’s not just the weather that’s constantly changing, however; it seems that everything around us is moving and altering faster and faster. Technology is advancing beyond anyone’s comprehension. People are moving more and staying put less. What’s cool and what’s not? What’s in style and what has gone out?
For the world, change is the name of the game. But for the Christian that isn’t true. The writer of Hebrews tells us: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). For those of us confounded by all the change around us, this is certainly a comfort. Jesus is the rock on which we should build our house while the fads, knowledge, and so-called wisdom of this world are the shifting sands (see Matt. 7:24-27). If we put our faith, hope, and trust in the things of this world and the winds of change blow – when new styles come, when new science overturns the old, when new wisdom becomes popular – our house will be blown away. But if we trust only in the steadfast promise of Jesus Christ – the worldly winds of change can blow and our house won’t even teeter. This is because “the word of the Lord remains forever” (1 Pet. 1:25).
And what exactly is this “word of the Lord?” That Jesus Christ is God himself but came down to earth as a man. Here he taught, healed, and preached. Then he died on the cross as the sacrifice for the forgiveness for all of our sins. But he didn’t stay dead – he rose on the third day and promises eternal life in heaven to all who believe this. Jude tells us that God is our Savior “before all time, now, and for all eternity” (Jude 1:25). So focus on this eternal, unchanging Savior. Don’t be frightened by the change around you, but be comforted by the stability of the God of the universe and know that he will keep his promise to grant eternal life to all those who wisely ‘build’ upon him, the true rock.
Vicar Rob Schrader