Pastor David Nehrenz
Dear Fellow Light-Bearers of the Light of Christ into a dark world,
“As with gladness men of old, Did the guiding star behold; As with joy they hailed its light, Leading onward, beaming bright; So, most gracious Lord, may we, Evermore be led by Thee!” LSB 397 v. 1
Epiphany is indeed a celebration for Gentiles like us. The Magi or Wise Men were Gentiles from the east. They followed a star they had seen in the sky and came to worship the One who is the Light for all the nations. Their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh were gifts for Jesus who is a king, priest and prophet.
We are in the Epiphany season from Wednesday, January 6, the Epiphany of Our Lord, until Sunday February 14, the Transfiguration of Our Lord. There are four key events in the life of Christ during the Epiphany season:
First is the actual Epiphany of the star that brings the Magi to Jesus. They exult in the glorious Light of the Christ, and bow down and worship him.
Second is the Baptism of our Lord, where the voice of the Father speaks forth from the clouds in the sky and announces, “This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased!”
Third is the first Miracle of our Lord, when Jesus shows his glory to his disciples by changing water into wine at the wedding in Cana.
Fourth is the Transfiguration of our Lord, where on the high mountain Jesus shines forth in brilliant light from the cloud of God’s presence. There Moses and Elijah (the Old Testament) and Peter, James and John (the New Testament) hear the Father say, “This is my Beloved Son, Listen to Him!”
These four events are some of the most important manifestations of Jesus’ glory shining through his human nature!
Every year, as we travel through history, the darkness of the unbelieving world grows thicker. False prophets and false christs and violence and wickedness abound. The overt debauchery and depravity is broadcast on TV and social media. But the real issue is that these all flow from the devil, the world and our own sinful flesh. Where is light and life and righteousness to be found? Only in Jesus Christ!
Also this month, we consider the God-given gift and sanctity of human life. God created human life from conception in our mother’s womb and sustains us till the day of our death. Christians must stand up in defense of God’s gift of life and speak out against abortion, infanticide, mercy-killing and euthanasia, genocide and suicide. Instead, we offer mercy and love for those in hurt and in need. (On January 24)
“Holy Jesus, ev’ry day, Keep us in the narrow way; And when earthly things are past, Bring our ransomed souls at last, Where they need no star to guide, Where no clouds Thy glory hide. LSB 397 v. 4
In the Light of the world – Jesus,
Pastor David Nehrenz
Vicar Jordan Peiser
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8).
We are entering a new year, and with each new year, we can expect changes. We grow a little older, the seasons change, and there are new leaders in our country. The new year is also when people make all kinds of resolutions to change the habits they have formed over the last year or longer. This text from Isaiah reminds us that things around us are continually changing. However, we are also reminded that God and His word “will stand forever.” God’s promises are not a New Year’s resolution that He might keep for a while and then forget about. No, God’s word stands forever since God does not “change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has He spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (Numbers 23:19) God is faithful to His word and promise; his promise to “make all things new” (Revelation 21:5) and to save us in and through Jesus Christ is a promise that stands forever. Our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to save us from our sins by His death and resurrection. He ascended to the Father and sent us the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide His Church. So, while the world and circumstances around us may change, we know that our Lord’s word will stand forever and “that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
Let us pray: Eternal God, we commit to Your mercy and forgiveness the year now ending and commend to Your blessing and the love the times yet to come. In the new year, abide among us with Your Holy Spirit that we may always trust in the saving name of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and The Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen!
Vicar Jordan Peiser