Thursday, December 27, 2007

Looking Forward: Sundays in January

Note: The following will be published in the January issue of Tidings, Immanuel's parish newsletter.

January 6: Epiphany - Epiphany is the earliest Christan festival besides Easter - earlier even than Christmas! It always falls on January 6, after the twelve days of Christmas are completed. It is considered one of the most important days of the Christian year, as it commemorates the Magi from the East coming to worship Jesus as true God in the flesh, the King of all mankind. This event (and the Gospel for this day) is recorded in Matthew 2:1-12.

January 13: The Baptism of Our Lord - Great feasts have an "octave," a recapitulation of the festival on the eighth day (or, one week later). The octave of Epiphany is January 13, which is the fixed date for remembering the Baptism of Jesus. We are privileged this year to have both January 6 and 13 fall on Sundays, which will give more people the opportunity to celebrate these great feasts. At the Baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17), we see that He stepped into our place, the Sinless One baptized as a sinner, in order to fulfill all righteousness for us and give us a Baptism into His sinlessness.

January 20: Septuagesima - Because Easter comes early this year (March 23), so does Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday (February 6). The three Sundays before Ash Wednesday are known to traditional Christians as "Pre-Lent," signified by their funny names all ending in "-gesima." The names are approximations of the number of days until Easter; Septuagesima is about seventy days before Easter. On this day, we prepare for Lent by hearing the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16). Christ our Lord is calling us to work, and He promises to give us far more than we deserve when the day is finished.

January 27: Sexagesima - Again looking toward Easter, Sexagesima reminds us that we now are only about sixty days away from the Resurrection celebration. The Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:4-15) tells us what we will need to be about in Lent and throughout our Christian life: keeping the Word of God with patience, bringing fruit to maturity while not getting consumed with the cares and riches of this life.

Daily Readings for December 31, 2007 - January 5, 2008

John 1:15-18
Isaiah 32:1-8

Luke 2:15-20
Isaiah 46:3-13

Luke 2:21-24
Matthew 2:16-18

Luke 2:25-40
Matthew 2:19-23

Matthew 2:1-12
Matthew 3:1-12

Isaiah 60:1–6
Ephesians 3:1–12

Small Catechism for Memorizing - Christmas I (December 30)

Lord’s Prayer - The First Petition:
Hallowed be Thy name.

What does this mean? God’s name is certainly holy in itself, but we pray in this petition that it may be kept holy among us also.

How is God’s name kept holy? God’s name is kept holy when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we, as the children of God, also lead holy lives according to it. Help us to do this, dear Father in heaven! But anyone who teaches or lives contrary to God’s Word profanes the name of God among us. Protect us from this, heavenly Father!

Bible Verse for Memorizing - Christmas I (December 30)

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Daily Readings for December 24 - 29

Matthew 1:18-25
Isaiah 40:1-11

Luke 1:39-45
Malachi 3:1-7

Luke 1:46-56
Malachi 4:1-6

Luke 1:57-66
Isaiah 28:14-19

Luke 1:67-80
Isaiah 7:1-17

Galatians 4:1–7
Luke 2:22–40

Collect for Advent IV (December 23)

Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come and help us by Your might, that the sins which weigh us down may be quickly lifted by Your grace and mercy; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Bible Verse for Memorizing - Advent IV (December 23)

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Veith on Vespers at Immanuel Lutheran School

Noted author Gene Edward Veith visited Vespers yesterday at the end of the school day, and wrote about his experience worshiping with our school children. You can read about it here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Daily Readings for December 17 - 22

Luke 1:57-80
Hebrews 10:35-39

Luke 2:1-7
Luke 21:5-24

Luke 2:8-20
Luke 12:35-59

Isaiah 26:1-21
James 5:7-11

Isaiah 51:1-16
Luke 1:1-25

Philippians 4:4–7
John 1:19–28

Small Catechism for Memorizing - Advent III (December 16)

Lord’s Prayer: The First Petition
Hallowed be Thy name.

What does this mean? God’s name is certainly holy in itself, but we pray in this petition that it may be kept holy among us also.

Bible Verse for Memorizing - Advent III (December 16)

"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever." (Isaiah 40:8)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Daily Readings for December 10 - 15

Luke 21:25-36
Acts 17:16-34

Luke 1:5-25
1 John 4:9-16

Luke 1:26-38
Colossians 1:1-8

Matthew 1:18-25
Philippians 2:12-18

Luke 1:39-56
Philippians 3:12-16

1 Corinthians 4:1–5
Matthew 11:2–11

Small Catechism for Memorizing - Advent II (December 9)

Lord’s Prayer: Introduction
Our Father who art in heaven.

What does this mean? With these words God tenderly invites us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children, so that with all boldness and confidence we may ask Him as dear children ask their dear father.

Bible Verse for Memorizing - Advent II (December 9)

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)