Worship — Sunday after Christmas 2020


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O come, all ye faithful
Author: John F. Wade

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels; Refrain

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation;
O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God in the highest; Refrain

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing. Refrain

P: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. +
C: Amen.

P: Beloved in the Lord! Let us draw near with a true heart, and confess our sins unto God our Father, beseeching Him, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to grant us forgiveness.

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord,
C: Who made heaven and earth.
P: I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord;
C: And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.

All: Almighty God, our Maker and Redeemer, we poor sinners confess unto You, that we are by nature sinful and unclean, and that we have sinned against You by thought, word and deed. Therefore, we flee for refuge to Your infinite mercy, seeking and imploring Your grace, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

P: Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, has had mercy upon us, and has given His only-begotten Son to die for us, and for His sake forgives us all our sins. To those who believe in His Name, He gives power to become the sons of God, and has promised them His Holy Spirit. He that believes, and is baptized, shall be saved.
P: Grant this, Lord, unto us all. C: Amen.

Psalm 89:1-8 A Contemplative Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.
1 I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever; with my mouth I will make known Your faithfulness to all generations.
2 For I have said, “Mercy shall be built up forever; Your faithfulness shall be established in the heavens.”
3 You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant:
4 ‘Your offspring I will establish forever, and build up your throne for all generations.’ ” Selah

5 Let the heavens praise Your wonders, O Lord; Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.
6 For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord? Who among the heavenly sons is like the Lord?
7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the holy ones and awesome to all those who surround Him.
8 O Lord God of Hosts, who is a mighty Lord like You, with Your faithfulness all around You?

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Holy Gospel Luke 2:22-40

22 When the days of her purification according to the Law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 Led by the Spirit, he came into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he received Him in his arms and blessed God and said:

29 “Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; 30 for my eyes have seen Your salvation 31 which You have prepared in the sight of all people, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”

33 Joseph and His mother were amazed at those things which were spoken about Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Listen, this Child is destined to cause the fall and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign which will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And a sword will pierce through your own soul also.”

36 And there was Anna a prophetess, a daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity. 37 And she was a widow of about eighty-four years of age who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 Coming at that moment she gave thanks to the Lord and spoke of Him to all those who looked for the redemption of Jerusalem.

39 When they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth. 40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom. And the grace of God was upon Him.

“Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” Luke 2:29-32

Are you ready to die and stand before God, your Maker? Are you at peace with God, knowing that full atonement has been made for your sins? Do you have the assurance that God has fulfilled His promises to send the Messiah and Savior and that He now forgives and accepts you as His own dear child for Jesus’ sake?

Simeon was an old believer who had been waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promises, for the coming of God’s promised Messiah and Savior. And God had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen with his own eyes the Lord’s Christ.

And directed by the Holy Spirit to come into the temple at Jerusalem precisely when Mary and Joseph came to the temple with the Christ Child to do what was required by the Law of God (Lev. 12:1-8; Ex. 13:2,11ff.; Num. 3:13; 3:40ff.; 8:17; 18:14-16), Simeon took Jesus up in his arms and said: “Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”

He had now seen the promised Christ Child — God the Son in human flesh — and held Him in his arms. And Simeon was now ready to die in peace and face God’s judgment because he knew that His God and Savior had come and that, for the sake of the holy life this Child would live in his stead, and for the sake of the innocent sufferings and death this Child would accomplish, atonement would be made for all his sins. Simeon was assured that through faith in Christ Jesus he was forgiven and accepted by God. He was ready to die in peace, for in Christ Jesus he had God’s promised Savior from sin and its eternal punishment!

What about you? Are you ready to die and stand before God, your Maker? Are you at peace with God, knowing your sins are paid for and forgiven for Christ’s sake?

For such confidence, we look to the pages of Holy Scripture; for there we too see our Savior and the salvation God has provided for us. There we see Christ’s holy life for us under God’s law, and there we see His bitter sufferings and death for us upon the cross and His glorious resurrection.

“But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born from a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Gal. 4:4-5).

In the Holy Scriptures, we see Jesus, our Savior, the Light of the Gentiles and the Glory of His people Israel. There we hear God’s gracious offer of pardon and forgiveness in Christ Jesus. There we learn that, through faith in Christ Jesus, we are not condemned but have forgiveness for all our sins and life eternal!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned. But he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:16-18).

When we look at Christ through the Holy Scriptures and hold Him in our arms by faith, we too can be ready, as Simeon was, to depart this life in peace! “Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and so we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:1-2). God grant us such faith in Christ Jesus our Savior!

Lord Jesus Christ, let our eyes look to You through the pages of Holy Scripture, that we too may trust in You and always be ready to depart this life in peace. Revive the weak in faith and strengthen all of us, that we may stand fast in our Savior until He returns to grant unto us and all believers everlasting life. Amen.

ALL: Create in me a clean heart, O God: and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence: and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation: and uphold me with Thy free Spirit. Amen.

General Prayer

Almighty and Everlasting God, You are worthy to be held in reverence by all the children of men, we give You most humble and hearty thanks for the innumerable blessings, both temporal and spiritual, which, without any merit or worthiness on our part, You have bestowed upon us.

We praise You, especially, that You have preserved unto us, in their purity, You saving Word, and the sacred ordinances of Your house. And we beseech You, O Lord, to grant and preserve unto Your holy Church, throughout the world, purity of doctrine, and faithful pastors who shall preach Your Word with power; and help all who hear, rightly to understand, and truly to believe the same. To that end, we pray Your blessing on Bishop Heiser, on our pastors, and on all the pastors of our diocese.

Be the Protector and Defender of Your people in all time of tribulation and danger and may we, in communion with Your Church, and in brotherly unity with all our fellow-Christians, fight the good fight of faith, and in the end receive the salvation of our souls.

Bestow Your grace upon all the nations of the earth. Especially do we entreat You to bless our land, and all its inhabitants, and all who are in authority. Cause Your glory to dwell among us, and let mercy and truth, righteousness and peace, everywhere prevail. To this end, we commend to Your care all our schools and pray You to make them nurseries of useful knowledge and of Christian virtues, that they may bring forth the wholesome fruits of life.

Graciously defend us from all calamities by fire and water, from war and pestilence, from scarcity and famine. Protect and prosper everyone in his appropriate calling, and cause all useful arts to flourish among us. Be the God and Father of the widow and the fatherless children, the Helper of the sick and the needy and the Comforter of the forsaken and distressed.

We pray for all those ill from the coronavirus, from other diseases or afflictions, or suffering from the effects of isolation. Grant health and healing to those ill and infected and comfort all with the Gospel promises of forgiveness of sins and the everlasting joys of heaven through faith in Christ Jesus, Your Son and our Savior.

And as we are strangers and pilgrims on earth, help us by true faith and a godly life to prepare for the world to come; doing the work which You have given us to do while it is day, before the night comes when no man can work. And when our last hour shall come, support us by Your power, and receive us into Your everlasting kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.

Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven; Hallowed be Thy Name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven; Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil; For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; the Lord lift His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” Amen.

Let us all with gladsome voice
Author: Urban Langhans

Let us all with gladsome voice
Praise the God of Heaven,
Who, to bid our hearts rejoice,
His own Son hath given.

To this vale of tears He comes,
Here to serve in sadness,
That with Him in Heav’ns fair home
We may reign in gladness.

We are rich, for He was poor;
Is not this a wonder?
Therefore praise God evermore
Here on earth and yonder.

Christ, our Lord and Savior dear,
Be Thou ever near us.
Grant us now a glad new year.
Amen, Jesus, hear us!

[Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

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