First Sunday in Advent

(Dec. 2, 2018)

Jeremiah 33:14–16; Ps. 25:1-10; 1 Thessalonians 3:9–13; Luke 19:28–40 or Luke 21:25–36

Entrance: LSB 343 Prepare the Royal Highway

Of the Day: LSB 332 Savior of the Nations, Come

Offertory: LSB 335 O Bride of Christ, Rejoice

Distribution: LSB 334 O Lord, How Shall I Meet You;

LSB 353 Jesus Came, the Heavens Adoring

Closing: LSB 339 Lift Up Your Heads, You Everlasting Doors

The Lord Jesus Comes in Humility to Redeem Us

The season of Advent focuses on the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and this first Sunday establishes this theme for the rest of the season. The Son of God came long ago to be our Savior, “a righteous Branch” descended from David (Jer. 33:15). As He then came into Jerusalem, riding on a lowly donkey to sacrifice Himself for the sins of the world (Luke 19:28-40), so does He come to His Church today in the humility of Word and Sacrament to deliver the fruits of His Passion: the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. He absolves us and establishes our hearts “blameless in holiness before our God and Father” (1 Thess. 3:13). The same Lord Jesus, who came to Jerusalem then and who comes to us now in peace, will come again with power and great glory on the Last Day. Then there will be “distress of nations in perplexity,” with “people fainting in fear.” Yet, as we anticipate that great and terrible day, He bids us to rest securely in Him: “Raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:25, 26, 28).

 

Second Sunday in Advent

(Dec. 9, 2018)

Malachi 3:1–7b; Ps. 66:1-12; Philippians 1:2–11; Luke 3:1–14 (15–20)

Entrance: LSB 344 On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry

Of the Day: LSB 511 Herald, Sound the Note of Judgment

Offertory: LSB 518 By All Your Saints in Warfare (sts. 1, 15, 24, 3)

Distribution: LSB 936 Sing Praise to the God of Israel;

LSB 346 When All the World Was Cursed

Closing: LSB 343 Prepare the Royal Highway

The Preaching of Repentance Prepares Us for the Coming of the Lord

The preaching and Baptism “of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3) prepare us for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The historic work of John the Baptist was completed with the first advent of our Lord Jesus in the flesh, but the ministry of the forerunner continues in the preaching of Law and Gospel and in Holy Baptism. Through His messengers, the Lord calls people of all nations to “see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6). Our haughtiness is removed and our mountains of pride are brought low, but the Lord humbles us in order to exalt us in His mercy. As the Lord has begun this good work of repentance in us, so also does He perfect it by His Word and Holy Spirit, and He “will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). He purifies us to be His priestly people, precious in His sight and abounding in faith and love, so that we offer our very lives in righteousness to the Lord (Mal. 3:3–4).

 

Third Sunday in Advent

(Dec. 16, 2018)

Zephaniah 3:14–20; Ps. 85:1-13; Philippians 4:4–7; Luke 7:18–28, 29–35

Entrance: LSB 349 Hark the Glad Sound

Of the Day: LSB 345 Hark! A Thrilling Voice Is Sounding

Offertory: LSB 511 Herald, Sound the Note of Judgment

Distribution: LSB 347 Comfort, Comfort Ye My People;

LSB 515 Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers

Closing: LSB 338 Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

The Coming of Jesus Enables Us to Rejoice

The Third Sunday in Advent has traditionally been called by the Latin word Gaudete, meaning “Rejoice!” For as you are called to repentance, so also are you urged to rejoice in the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. By His own cross, He has accomplished salvation for you; “He has cleared away your enemies,” “taken away the judgments against you” and come to reign in your midst. Indeed, He rejoices over you with gladness and song (Zeph. 3:15–17)! Therefore, even from prison St. Paul encourages us to “rejoice in the Lord always,” knowing that the peace of God will guard and keep us in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:4, 7). We find an example and encouragement in the case of John the Baptist. As he languishes in prison, he calls upon Jesus and is strengthened by the Word of the Gospel that he receives. The same good news is preached to you, by which all things are made new and even “the dead are raised up” (Luke 7:22). Do not be offended by the cross, therefore, but let your life be one of prayer and thanksgiving (Luke 7:23; Phil. 4:6).

 

Fourth Sunday in Advent

(Dec. 23, 2018)

Micah 5:2–5a; Ps. 80:1-7; Hebrews 10:5–10; Luke 1:39–45, 46–56

Entrance: LSB 935 Tell Out, My Soul, the Greatness of the Lord

Of the Day: LSB 356 The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came

Offertory: LSB 353 Jesus Came, the Heavens Adoring

Distribution: LSB 357 O Come, O Come, Emmanuel;

LSB 332 Savior of the Nations, Come

Closing: LSB 387 Joy to the World

The Lord Comes to Visit Us in Peace

The Fourth Sunday in Advent turns our attention toward the Nativity of Our Lord. With Mary, we await the coming of the Christ, her Son, conceived in her womb by the Spirit of God. As the Lord dealt graciously with her and did great things for her (Luke 1:48–49), so also He manifests Himself and His glory to us in mercy and gentleness. He comes to rule His people in peace, to “shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord.” He comes forth not from the great capital city of Rome or Jerusalem, but from lowly little Bethlehem (Micah 5:2, 4). He comes to sacrifice Himself, in fulfillment of His Father’s will, for the salvation and sanctification of His people (Heb. 10:10). He who once visited Elizabeth while hidden in the womb of Mary (Luke 1:39–45) now comes to visit us today, hidden in the lowliness of simple water, bread and wine.

 

Christmas Eve

(24 December 2018)

Isaiah 7:10–14; Ps 110:1-4; 1 John 4:7–16; Matthew 1:18–25

The Word of the Lord Is Fulfilled in the Flesh of Jesus

Though Ahaz would not ask, the Lord gives a sign to the house of David that “the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Is. 7:14). With this promise, He signifies that salvation is by His grace alone; it is no work or achievement of fallen humanity, but the Lord’s own work and free gift. The promise is fulfilled as the Son of God is conceived and born of the Virgin Mary, and the sign is received in faith by the house of David in the person of Joseph (Matt. 1:20–24). “Incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary” (Nicene Creed), God is with us (Immanuel) in the flesh of Jesus, Mary’s Son. Joseph believes that Word of God and so demonstrates a marvelous example in his immediate and quiet obedience, taking Mary to be his wife and caring for her in faith and love. He loves her because the love of God is manifest in this, that “the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world,” “to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9–10, 14).

 

Christmas Midnight

(24 December 2018)

Isaiah 9:2–7; Ps 96; Titus 2:11–14; Luke 2:1–14, 15–20

Entrance: LSB 377 On Christmas Night All Christians Sing

Or LSB 360 All My Heart Again Rejoices

Of the Day: LSB 358 From Heaven Above to Earth I Come

Offertory: LSB 368 Angels We Have Heard on High

Distribution: LSB 361 O Little Town of Bethlehem;

LSB 370 What Child Is This

Closing: LSB 363 Silent Night, Holy Night

The Light of Christ Shines Forth in the Darkness

Heaven and earth rejoice on this night because the glory of the blessed Trinity is manifested in the human birth of “our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). In Him, the Father’s grace, mercy and peace rest upon the world. The silence of death is broken by this “good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10). And all we who have gone astray like lost and wandering sheep, who have “walked in the darkness” of doubt and fear and sinful unbelief, behold “a great light” in the nativity of Christ (Is. 9:2). In Him, “the grace of God has appeared” (Titus 2:11). For this Child of Mary who is born for us, this dear Son of God who is given to us, will bear the burden of our sin and death in His own body on the cross. He thereby establishes a government of peace, “with justice and with righteousness,” which shall have no end; not by any work of man, but “the zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this” (Is. 9:7).

 

Christmas Dawn

(25 December 2018)

Isaiah 62:10–12; Ps 98; Titus 3:4–7; Luke 2:1–14, 15–20

Christ Jesus Reveals Himself in the Signs He Has Given to His Church

The Lord has not forsaken us. He has come and sought us out to save us (Is. 62:11–12), so that “being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7). In Christ Jesus, conceived and born of Mary, “the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared” (Titus 3:4). Now He is lifted up in the Gospel, “a signal over the peoples” (Is. 62:10), that He might call us to rejoice in His salvation. St. Luke emphasizes the signs by which the shepherds once found Him: in Bethlehem, the City of David, “wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12). The same Lord Jesus reveals Himself to us in the sure and certain signs of His Gospel. His Church is a true Bethlehem (House of Bread); for the Son of David, “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11), feeds us with His body and His blood from the manger of His altar, wrapped in swaddling cloths of bread and wine. Let us ponder these mysteries and, as the shepherds did, go about our vocations, “glorifying and praising God” (Luke 2:19–20).

 

Christmas Day

(25 December 2018)

Isaiah 52:7–10; Ps 2; Hebrews 1:1–6, 7–12; John 1:1–14, 15–18

Entrance: LSB 379 O Come, All Ye Faithful

Of the Day: LSB 382 We Praise You, Jesus, at Your Birth

Offertory: LSB 380 Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Distribution: LSB 384 Of the Father’s Love Begotten;

LSB 368 Angels We Have Heard on High

Closing: LSB 386 Now Sing We, Now Rejoice

The Living and Life-Giving Word of God Dwells among Us in the Flesh

The Lord sends out His ministers of the Gospel to make disciples “of all the nations,” so that “all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” For the Lord has “bared his holy arm” in the incarnate Christ (Is. 52:7, 10). The Child in the manger, born of the Virgin Mary, is the very Word of God, the only begotten Son of the Father, “whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Heb. 1:2). As “all things were made through him” (John 1:3), so are all things redeemed and made new in Him. In His body of flesh and blood, we behold “the radiance of the glory of God” (Heb. 1:3), “glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). He dwells among us in peace that we might have life and light and salvation in Him. For by His Word of the Gospel, we are born again as the children of God, bearing His name and sharing His eternal life.

 

First Sunday after Christmas

(Dec. 30, 2018)

Exodus 13:1–3a, 11–15; Ps 111; Colossians 3:12–17; Luke 2:22–40

Entrance: LSB 367 Angels from the Realms of Glory

Of the Day: LSB 389 Let All Together Praise Our God

Offertory: LSB 384 Of the Father’s Love Begotten

Distribution: LSB 897 O Rejoice, Ye Christians, Loudly;

LSB 937 Lord, Bid Your Servant Go in Peace

Closing: LSB 938 In Peace and Joy I Now Depart

The Firstborn Son of God Is Our Redemption from Sin and Death

When the Lord destroyed the firstborn sons of Egypt, He spared the sons of Israel by providing a lamb in their stead. Hence, all the firstborn sons belong to Him. Every firstborn male animal was sacrificed, and every firstborn son of man was redeemed (Ex. 13:12–13). Therefore, the parents of Jesus “brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord” (Luke 2:22). However, He is not redeemed from priestly service but is consecrated for “the redemption of Jerusalem” and “the consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25, 38). For God the Father did not spare His only begotten Son, but offered Him up as the true Passover Lamb, in order to redeem His people from bondage. His cross has caused many to stumble and fall, but His blood atoned for the sins of the world and delivers us from death. We now depart in the peace of Christ because we are also raised with Him. As we receive His body and blood, we join Simeon and Anna in “giving thanks to God the Father through him,” “singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” including the Nunc Dimittis, with thankfulness in our hearts (Luke 2:28–32, 38; Col. 3:15–17).

 

Feast of The Circumcision and Name of Jesus (New Year’s Day)

(1 January 2019)

Numbers 6:22–27; Ps 8; Galatians 3:23–29; Luke 2:21

Entrance: LSB 818 In Thee Is Gladness

Of the Day: LSB 900 Jesus! Name of Wondrous Love

Distribution: LSB 896 Now Greet the Swiftly Changing Year;

LSB 362 O Sing of Christ

Closing: LSB 924 Lord, Dismiss Us with Your Blessing

The Lord Jesus Comes in the Flesh to Fulfill the Law for Us and Save Us from Our Sins

Circumcision is the covenant God made with Abraham and his seed. It sealed God’s promises and blessings in the flesh, but it also signified the burden of the Law. When the Lord Jesus came in the flesh to redeem His people, He subjected Himself to the Law, in order to fulfill the Law and release all men from its captivity. “He was called Jesus” (Luke 2:21) because He came to save His people from their sins. He would shed His blood on their behalf, as He did already when “he was circumcised” (Luke 2:21). As He also sacrificed Himself upon the cross, you are “justified by faith” in His blood (Gal. 3:24). Therefore, “you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:29), not by the circumcision of your flesh, but in the flesh and blood of Christ Jesus, the true seed of Abraham. “Baptized into Christ,” you belong to Him and are clothed and covered by His righteousness (Gal. 3:27). Holy Baptism is the true circumcision made without hands, by which the Lord Jesus puts His name on you and blesses you (Num. 6:22, 27).

 

The Epiphany of Our Lord

(6 January 2019)

Isaiah 60:1–6; Ps. 72:1-11, 12-15; Ephesians 3:1–12; Matthew 2:1–12

Entrance: LSB 367 Angels from the Realms of Glory

Of the Day: LSB 395 O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright

Offertory: LSB 400 Brightest and Best of the Stars of the Morning

Distribution: LSB 399 The Star Proclaims the King Is Here;

LSB 394 Songs of Thankfulness and Praise

Closing: LSB 397 As with Gladness Men of Old

The Lord God Is Manifested in the Incarnate Son

The Feast of the Epiphany centers in the visit of the Magi from the East. In that respect, it is a “Thirteenth Day” of Christmas; yet, it also marks the beginning of a new liturgical season. While Christmas has focused on the incarnation of our Lord — that is, on God becoming flesh — the season of Epiphany emphasizes the manifestation or self-revelation of God in that same flesh of Christ. The Lord Himself has entered our darkness and rises upon us with the brightness of His true light (Is. 60:1–2). He does so chiefly by His Word of the Gospel, which He causes to be preached within His Church on earth — not only to the Jews but also to Gentiles (Eph. 3:8–10). As the Magi were guided by the promises of Holy Scripture to find and worship the Christ Child with His mother in the house (Matt. 2:5–11), so does He call disciples from all nations by the preaching of His Word to find and worship Him within His Church (Is. 60:3–6). With gold, they confess His royalty; with incense, His deity; and with myrrh, His priestly sacrifice (Matt. 2:11).

 

The Baptism of Our Lord (First Sunday after the Epiphany)

(13 January 2019)

Isaiah 43:1–7; Ps. 29:1-11; Romans 6:1–11; Luke 3:15–22

Entrance: LSB 405 To Jordan’s River Came Our Lord

Of the Day: LSB 406 To Jordan Came the Christ, Our Lord

Offertory: LSB 601 All Who Believe and Are Baptized

Distribution: LSB 596 All Christians Who Have Been Baptized;

LSB 399 The Star Proclaims the King Is Here

Closing: LSB 594 God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It

The Triune God Opens Heaven to You in Holy Baptism

The Baptism of our Lord is an “Epiphany” of the one true God in the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. In divine mercy, He takes His place with sinners and takes their sin upon Himself. “When all the people were baptized,” Jesus submitted Himself to a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:21). He had no sins of His own, but He took the sins of the world upon Himself and so was baptized into His own death. Therefore, “when you pass through the waters,” He is with you (Is. 43:2). He created you for His glory, and He has redeemed you with His blood, that you may be His own and live with Him in His Kingdom (Is. 43:1, 7). As you are baptized with a baptism like His, so also are you united with Him in His death and resurrection that you “might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). For all who are baptized into Christ Jesus receive His anointing of the Holy Spirit and are named by His Father as beloved and well-pleasing sons and daughters.

 

Second Sunday After the Epiphany

(20 January 2019)

Isaiah 62:1–5; Ps. 128:1-6; 1 Corinthians 12:1–11; John 2:1–11

Entrance: LSB 394 Songs of Thankfulness and Praise

Of the Day: LSB 408 Come, Join in Cana’s Feast

Offertory: LSB 910 Now the Silence

Distribution: LSB 395 O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright;

LSB 399 The Star Proclaims the King Is Here

Closing: LSB 402 The Only Son from H

The Divine Glory Is Manifested in the Signs of Christ

When Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana, it was “the first of his signs,” by which He “manifested his glory” (John 2:11). It pointed to His coming “hour,” when He was lifted up on the cross for the forgiveness of sins and the life of the world (John 2:4; 12:23–32). The glory of the cross is incomprehensible apart from the Word and Spirit of God, but disciples of Jesus recognize that glory in the signs of His Gospel, and so they believe in Him. Jesus does not wait for His disciples to discover Him on their own, but He seeks out the forsaken and the desolate and unites them to Himself. He adorns them with His own beautiful righteousness and delights in them “as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride” (Is. 62:4–5). Purified by the washing of water with His Word in Holy Baptism, His disciples confess that “Jesus is Lord,” and they return thanks to Him “in the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3) as they drink the good wine that He pours out for them, which is the new testament in His blood.

 

Third Sunday After the Epiphany

(27 January 2019)

Nehemiah 8:1–3, 5–6, 8–10; Ps. 19:1-6, 7-14; 1 Corinthians 12:12–31a; Luke 4:16–30

Entrance: LSB 836 O God of Light

Of the Day: LSB 839 O Christ, Our True and Only Light

Offertory: LSB 523 O Word of God Incarnate

Distribution: LSB 398 Hail to the Lord’s Anointed;

LSB 583 God Has Spoken by His Prophets

Closing: LSB 810 O God of God, O Light of Light

The Lord Is Manifested as Our Savior through the Preaching of the Gospel

When Jesus opens His mouth to preach, gracious words flow from His lips. The Scriptures are, indeed, fulfilled in your hearing (Luke 4:21–22). For Christ was anointed by the Spirit of the Lord “to proclaim good news to the poor,” “to proclaim liberty to the captives” and “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18–19). By this proclamation, Christ releases His people from captivity and gathers them to Himself in His Church. So it was when the Lord released His people from Babylon and returned them to Jerusalem. “Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people,” sanctified the whole congregation by the reading and preaching of the Law (Neh. 8:8–9). As the people then were urged to “eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready” (Neh. 8:10), so are you anointed by the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ to share in His feast and to serve the fellow members of His Body with His good gifts, “giving greater honor to the part that lacked it” (1 Cor. 12:12, 24).
Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

(03 February 2019)

Jeremiah 1:4–10, 17–19; Ps. 71:1-6, 7-11; 1 Corinthians 12:31b—13:13; Luke 4:31–44

Entrance: LSB 535 How Wide the Love of Christ

Of the Day: LSB 541 “Away from Us!” the Demon Cried

Offertory: LSB 842 Son of God, Eternal Savior

Distribution: LSB 695 Not for Tongues of Heaven’s Angels;

LSB 619 Thy Body, Given for Me, O Savior

Closing: LSB 849 Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness

Jesus Has Authority to Forgive Your Sins and Give You Life

Jesus was sent to “preach the good news of the kingdom of God” (Luke 4:43). His preaching is an epiphany, or manifestation, of God because His Word reveals the authority of His cross and resurrection, by which He has atoned for the sins of the world. By the preaching of His Gospel in every place, He silences the unclean spirits and casts out demons, heals the diseases of body and soul, and restores life and health to His creation (Luke 4:40–41). For the sake of His divine love, He is “patient and kind” toward us; He “bears all things,” “endures all things” and delivers up His body to save us (1 Cor. 13:3–4, 7). So also for the sake of His love, He calls and sends His prophets, as ministers of His Word, “to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant” (Jer. 1:10).

 


Courtesy: LCMS