Come and Save Us, O Lord our God: A Daily Adventide Devotional

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O

AND

COME
SAVE US,
LORD OUR GOD. A Daily Adventide Devotional Compiled, produced, and published by Christ Academy Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana

All Scripture from The Holy Bible, ESV unless otherwise noted.

Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.

Lutheran Service Book (LSB) © 2006 Concordia

Publishing House

O God O Lord of Heav’n and Earth (LSB 834) Text: Public domain

Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooking (LSB 359) Text: Public domain

Lift Up Your Heads, You Everlasting Doors (LSB 339)

© 2003 Stephen P. Starke; admin Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission: LSBHymnLicense.net, no. 100010029.

Come, Thou Bright and Morning Star (LSB 872) Text: Public domain

Savior of the Nations, Come (LSB 332)

Text (sts. 1–2) Public domain; (sts. 4–5, 8): © 1978 Concordia Publishing House; (sts. 3, 6–7): © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission: LSBHymnLicense.net, no. 100010029.

Of the Father’s Love Begotten (LSB 384) Text: Public domain

Special thanks to:

Kristine Bruss for editing this devotional.

Colleen Bartzsch for her help in formatting this devotional.

Our devotion authors who have served Christ Academy over the years and continue to serve the Church today.

The Christ Academy Staff, Rev. Matthew Wietfeldt, Sem. David Woelmer, Sem. Harvey Peters, and Mrs. Cambria Pauls for organizing and executing this project.

Table of Contents

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

How to Use This Devotional . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

First Sunday in Advent

November 27, Rev. Matthew Wietfeldt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

November 28, Sem. David Woelmer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

November 29, Sem. Isaac Spangler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

November 30, Sem Harvey Peters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

December 1, Rev. Dr. James A. Lee II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

December 2, Mr. Charlie McLain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

December 3, Deac. Brittni Brown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11-12

Second Sunday in Advent

December 4, Mr. Nathan Demlow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

December 5, Sem. David Woelmer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

December 6, Rev. Aaron Schian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

December 7, Deac. Mika Patron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

December 8, Deac. Carolyn Brinkley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

December 9, Mrs. Cambria Pauls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

December 10, Rev. Ethan Stoppenhagen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Third Sunday in Advent

December 11, Sem. David Woelmer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22-23

December 12, Sem. Solomon Spangler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

December 13, Rev. Matthias C. Wollberg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

December 14, Sem. David Scarborough . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

December 15, Mr. Jonah Clausen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

December 16, Mr. Sam Bohnet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28-29

December 17, Rev. Sawyer Meyers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

Fourth Sunday in Advent

December 18, Rev. Kyle Brown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

December 19, Sem. Henry “Sam” Scheltens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

December 20, Sem. Harvey Peters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

December 21, Deac. Katie Aiello . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

December 22, Rev. Roger A. Peters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

December 23, Rev. Josef Muench . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37-38

December 24, Vicar Joseph Greenmyer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39-40

December 25, Sem. Harvey Peters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

The Liturgical Calendar from Advent to Epiphany . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

Introduction

Our Lord took on many names and titles during His earthly ministry. Some called Him John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah. He was also called the Son of David, the Son of Man, and the Son of God. This Advent, Christ Academy invites you to ponder seven particular titles that the Church has from ancient times given special attention during this season of repentance and preparation. This devotional will culminate in our reflections on the most significant title given to the Christ, Emmanuel, which means, God With Us. For thousands of years, the Church has celebrated Her Lord’s first coming in the flesh while eagerly anticipating His great and glorious return. We look not only to the past, to the dawn of our redemption in the great mystery of the incarnation, but also to the future, as we pray with the saints from all generations, “Come and save us, O Lord our God!”

Since its formation in 1999, Christ Academy has had an immense impact on the formation of men and women for service in the world and especially in the Church. Throughout the years, Christ Academy has remained dedicated to providing opportunities for vocational discernment alongside fostering long-lasting friendship and memories. Thanks to the faculty, staff, and partners of Concordia Theological Seminary, Christ Academy continues to provide students with programs that are Christ-centered, biblically based, confessionally Lutheran, and evangelically active. Christ Academy joyfully presents the sixth annual Christ Academy Adventide Devotional. Celebrating the advent of Christ, who is God with us, this season, we pray that in these devotions you will see that our Lord is faithful and His promises are true. Just as He appeared to His people in a manger in Bethlehem, He now comes to us in His Holy Word and Sacraments, and He will abide with us until He comes again to make a new heavens and a new earth. This Adventide, we pray that the Lord would draw especially near to us today to give us His wisdom, reign as our mighty Lord and King, serve as a sign for all people, and set His captive Israel free.

Sem. David Woelmer, Sem. Harvey Peters, and Mrs. Cambria Pauls Advent 2022

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How to use this devotional

This devotional is structured around the ancient O Antiphons. Historically, the antiphons were sung before the Magnificat at Vespers from December 17 to December 23. They date back to the 5th or 6th century, and the most familiar use of them in the Lutheran Church is found in the hymn O Come O Come Emmanuel, LSB 357. The antiphons are known as follows: O Emmanuel, O Rex, O Oriens, O Clavis, O Radix, O Adonai, and O Sapientia. The first letters of each word are an acrostic of the Latin phrase ERO CRAS, which means “Tomorrow, I will come.” These antiphons, then, demonstrate the continual prayer of the Church as well as the Lord’s constant response. We pray, “O come, O come,” and He responds, “Tomorrow, I will come.”

This devotional will follow this four-day pattern: the first day will focus on the antiphon, after which there will be a reading from the Old Testament, then a selection from the Psalms, and finally a hymn that ties in with the theme of that antiphon. We pray that these devotions will help enrich your daily prayers and meditations throughout the season of Advent.

Day and Antiphon English Text

November 27

O Sapientia (O Wisdom)

December 1

O Adonai (O Lord)

O Wisdom, proceeding from the mouth of the Most High, pervading and permeating all creation, mightily ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.

O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come with an outstretched arm and redeem us.

Latin Text

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)

December 5

O Root of Jesse, standing as an ensign before the peoples; before whom all kings are mute, to whom the nations will do homage: Come quickly to deliver us.

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem Gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare. December 9

O Key of David and scepter of the house of Israel; You open and no one can close; You close and no one can open: Come and rescue the prisoners who are in darkness and the shadow of death.

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel; qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster, exspectatio gentium, et Salvator earum:veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.

(O
O Clavis David
Key of David)
13 O Oriens (O Dayspring) O Dayspring, splendor of light everlasting: Come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. O
17 O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations) O King of the nations, the ruler they
for, the cornerstone
Come and save us
O Emmanuel (O God With Us) O Emmanuel, our
and our
the anointed for the nations and their
Come and save us, O Lord our
December
Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae: veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis. December
long
uniting all people:
all whom You formed out of clay. O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui
December 21
king
Lord,
Savior:
God.

First Sunday in Advent R

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O Sapientia (O Wisdom)

O Wisdom, proceeding from the mouth of the Most High, pervading and permeating all creation, mightily ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.

As we begin this holy season of preparation and contemplation, we start it in the wisdom of God. Throughout scripture, the wisdom of God is on display. It’s most on display in the Book of Proverbs. Solomon, the writer here, has been given wisdom, as well as others gifts from God. Yet his wisdom pales in comparison to the wisdom of God. As Solomon writes Proverbs, he lays out wisdom in the most godly and divine way humanly possible. He does not do it for his good, for his own promotion, or for his own benefit, or to receive the accolades of man. Instead, he does it to bestow blessing and virtue to the future generation of Israel and to the New Israel, us the Church.

True wisdom comes only from God to the faithful as a gift. Wisdom opens our eyes to how everything truly works. Wisdom begins with the fear of God, acknowledging who He is and who we are in sin. Wisdom humbles man and shuts man’s mouth when he thinks he has nothing to offer God besides his sins. God-given wisdom also knows to turn away from worldly wisdom to the trustworthy source of wisdom, Jesus Christ our Lord, for whom we are preparing this Adventide. He has made us wise to salvation in Him alone. He has made us wise to live in Him and wise to share His wisdom with the world, so desperate for His wisdom. Come soon, Lord Jesus.

Sunday, November 27
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Isaiah 11:2-5

And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.

The sevenfold Spirit of 1) the Lord (Yahweh), 2) wisdom, 3) understanding, 4) counsel, 5) might, 6) knowledge, and 7) fear of the Lord that dwells in Jesus Christ is indicative of His divinity and unity in essence with God the Father. The “Spirit of wisdom” that the Son possesses is more than an attribute of God. It is the very title of the Son (Prov. 8:12, 22-31) as distinct from the Father as they together created the world. Wisdom existed before anything was created and was the very agent of creation. Wisdom is the very speech (Word of God) that proceeds from the mouth of the Most High (1 Cor. 1:24, 30). The Word was involved in every aspect of creation (John 1:1-4), and now the Word continues to pervade and permeate all creation by 1) mightily ordering all things, 2) leading us into the path of knowledge, and 3) teaching us the way of prudence.

This path of knowledge leads us to the cross of Christ, where the Son of God accomplishes and fulfills the Father’s will. His delight is in the fear of the Lord, His death brings righteousness and faithfulness, and His life is the light of men that shines through the darkness of death and the grave. Wisdom says: “whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord” (Prov. 8:35). Come, O Wisdom! Come and teach us by your life and death. Come and give us wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

Christ Academy: High School Student 2013, 2014, 2015

Christ Academy: College Student 2017, 2018

Christ Academy: High School Proctor 2019

Christ Academy Assistant Student Director 2019-2020 Christ Academy Student Director 2020-2021, 2022-2023

Monday, November 28
Seminarian David Woelmer
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Psalm 119:66-76

Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments.

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.

You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.

The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts; their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law.

It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.

The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments. Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in your word.

I know, O LORD, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.

Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.

Wisdom, a peace-bringer amidst suffering, rests on those who know and love God’s commands. A person of peace blesses those in the midst of suffering and can, through their words and actions, dispel the consternations, fears, and pains of those in the midst of affliction. When in our deepest afflictions, the devil quickly pulls our eyes away from the cross and through fear or pain can steal from our hearts the Words of God’s peace, much like the ravens snatching the seed scattered by our Lord. How we long for someone to bring us God’s peace when we suffer so!

Peace comes with Wisdom. Through our sufferings God teaches us His statutes. Through learning His statutes we receive His peace. Those who bring us peace lift our eyes to the cross; they point us to our Savior who suffers beside us always. The peace-bringers are servants of Wisdom, letter-bringers of our God, and sufferers as are we. Through their sufferings God has taught them His statutes—His suffering with them has healed them. They now lift our eyes in the hope taught them by the Lord, hope in His Word. Both affix their gaze to the cross, the culminated picture of God’s Law.

When in suffering seek after Wisdom. Wisdom looks forward to Christ’s birth. Wisdom rejoices in Christ’s life. Wisdom mourns with thanksgiving Christ’s death. Wisdom takes joy in Christ’s resurrection. The Christian sealed by God’s Word suffers not in silence but in songs of thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 29
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“O Word of God Incarnate” (LSB 523)

O Word of God incarnate, O Wisdom from on high, O Truth unchanged, unchanging, O Light of our dark sky: We praise You for the radiance That from the hallowed page, A lantern to our footsteps, Shines on from age to age.

The Church from You, dear Master, Received the gift divine; And still that light is lifted O'er all the earth to shine. It is the chart and compass That, all life's voyage through, Mid mists and rocks and quicksands Still guides, O Christ, to You.

O make Your Church, dear Savior, A lamp of burnished gold To bear before the nations Your true light as of old! O teach Your wand'ring pilgrims By this their path to trace Till, clouds and darkness ended, They see You face to face!

This hymn gives us a few more titles for our Lord to ponder. Not only is Jesus “Wisdom,” as we have heard, He is also the “Word of God incarnate,” “Truth,” and “Light.” The Psalmist writes, “Thy Word is a light unto my feet, and a light unto my path,” and this hymn explains how it is our Lord Himself who guides His Church during her sojourn on this earth as she awaits His great and glorious return.

Just as the Lord has given us the sun to sustain life on earth, so too Jesus Christ, the very Word of God, gives life to His Church through the radiance that shines through the pages of Holy Scripture. For though the Lord upholds all things “by the word of His power” (Heb 1:3), the Church relies on the revealed Words of Holy Scripture for life everlasting. Christ promises to guide us through this vale of tears, and He supplies us with Himself as the very means by which He accomplishes this. When in the hour of our deepest need, we should turn first to our Bibles, where God has promised to supply us with a light that illumines and guides us with wisdom and truth. We can be sure that we will find there a trusty guide, Christ Jesus Himself, Wisdom, Truth, and Light incarnate. We trace our paths by those faithfully trod in the Scriptures, confident by those words our Lord will guide us to Himself in heaven.

Seminarian Harvey Peters

Christ Academy: High School Student 2018

Christ Academy: College Student 2018, 2021

Christ Academy: High School Proctor 2019, 2022

Christ Academy Assistant Student Director 2022-2023

Wednesday, November 30
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O Adonai

O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the burning bush and gave him the Law on Sinai: Come with an outstretched arm and redeem us.

Adam bequeathed to his progeny a servitude of sin. The entire tree of Adam, roots to branches, shares in this inheritance.

It is fitting that the second O Antiphon recalls the exile of Israel during her bondage to the house of Pharoah. For we are still the children of Adam, the children of Jacob. We are still in exile. Ours is a world of servitude and bondage. Vice is the taskmaster of our age, and it is a lord that people willingly serve. We live among a people governed by their basest desires, who invite us to join along in the despotism of debauchery. Our society calls this freedom, liberty, progress, but do not be deceived, you know what this is: slavery masquerading as autonomy. What people call freedom is nothing more than the old taskmaster.

So, during the waning days of Advent, the Church directs our thoughts to the bush that burned with flames of fire but which was not consumed. For what was that blazing tree but an image of the Man whose entire humanity was aflame by the fire of God’s own nature. There is only one hope for the tree of Adam engulfed in sin: the Second Adam, sinless and virtuous, who was consumed by the wrath of the Father. Grafted into His side, we, children of Adam, have freedom.

O Adonai, come and redeem us by thy outstretched arm.

Rev. Dr. James Ambrose Lee II

Associate Professor of Theology, Concordia University Chicago

Christ Academy Student, 2001, 2002

Christ Academy Proctor, 2004–2006; Christ Academy Germany 2004 Christ Academy Presenter, 2019, 2021

Thursday, December
1
9

Exodus 3:2-6

And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

From early the early days of Cub Scouts to high school JROTC and now in college, I have always enjoyed fire. I split the wood, build a little log cabin with lint, paper, stick and logs and then with the addition of a little flame from a match or lighter a fire grows until ultimately there is light and heat for everyone around the ring. Fire has multiple purposes; it gives light and heat yet also purifies. Isaiah’s lips were cleansed with the hot coal, and here the area where God is present is cleansed and called sacred.

In this sacred space Moses casts off his shoes, which had the dirt of unholy places on them. Here, in this holy area the LORD makes himself known to Moses. Out of fear for his life, he throws himself on the ground terrified. Yet, this is a sacred place; Moses is in the presence of God. We too in the Advent time wish to be in the presence of God once more. We cast off the unnecessary and take the time, at the very least, to walk into the sanctuary one extra time in the week–this sacred place where we receive the sacred gifts of our God. In this Advent season we cast our gaze towards the feeding trough, the cave, the young mother and father, these things that seem small and insignificant, but there the sacred Christ child lay–the Child that was born to die that we may live.

Friday, December 2
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Mr. Charlie McLain Student, Concordia University Chicago Christ Academy: High School Proctor 2020-2022

Psalm 19:7-14

Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me. They close their hearts to pity; with their mouths they speak arrogantly. They have now surrounded our steps; they set their eyes to cast us to the ground. He is like a lion eager to tear, as a young lion lurking in ambush.

Arise, O LORD! Confront him, subdue him! Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword, from men by your hand, O LORD, from men of the world whose portion is in this life. You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants

Advent, a time for reflection, a period of waiting—for what? Well, that waiting part is pretty self-explanatory. We are waiting for the coming Christ, the baby in the manger, the God who has promised to return again. The Christian life is a life of patient, expectant waiting.

But what about that reflecting thing? Ah, yes, that is the question: what do we do while we wait? We reflect, we examine, we repent. Our text tells us many things about the Law of God, that it is perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, true, better than gold and sweeter than honey—what high praise for the Law, that part of God’s Word that is scary to look at because it shows us our sin, reminds us we fall short, and tells us what to do. The Bible speaks so highly of the Law, so there must be something about it that is good for the Christian, since Christ did not abolish the Law but fulfilled it. God gave the Law in the Old Testament to help distinguish His people from those around them—not for His sake, but for theirs so that they would remember Whose they were. God’s people were to abide by His Law because it was good for them. It allowed them to live in peace with one another and with God. It showed them their sin so that they could repent and be forgiven. It helped them be God’s holy people. This is still what God’s Law does for us. It is good for our bodies and keeps us pure, it allows us to live in peace with God and with our fellow Christians, and it shows us where we fall short, not for the sake of punishment, but for the sake of

Saturday, December 3
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repentance. The Law is pure and right and clean and good because it helps us to look at our sin-sick hearts and see that we fall short (even when we don’t see where). It also helps us to turn to God, who forgives and heals and makes right, and to repent and receive those gifts which He offers us.

So, this Advent, as you await the coming of our Lord, reflect on the Law, take a long look at your sin-sick self and repent, and then hear the words of forgiveness our Lord speaks in your ears. Pray, as the Psalmist, that your words and thoughts would be pleasing to God. You will not be found wanting when Christ comes.

Deaconess Brittni Brown

Deaconess at Grace Lutheran Church, Hobbs, New Mexico and Our Savior Lutheran Church, Lovington, New Mexico

Rocky Mountain District Christ Academy: Student Director 2016 Christ Academy: High School Professor 2021

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Second Sunday in Advent R

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God O Lord of Heav’n and Earth” (LSB 834)

O God, O Lord of heaven and earth, Thy living finger never wrote that life should be an aimless mote, A deathward drift from futile birth. Thy Word meant life triumphant hurled, In splendor through Thy broken world, Since light awoke and life began, Thou hast desired Thy life for man.

Our fatal will to equal Thee, Our rebel will wrought death and night. We seized and used in prideful spite Thy wondrous gift of liberty. We housed us in this house of doom, Where death had royal scope and room Until Thy servant, Prince of Peace, breached all its walls for our release.

Thou camest to our hall of death, O Christ, to breathe our poisoned air, to drink for us the dark despair That strangled our reluctant breath. How beautiful the feet that trod The road that leads us back to God! How beautiful the feet that ran To bring the great good news to man!

O Spirit, who didst once restore Thy church that it might be again he bringer of good news to men, Breathe on Thy cloven Church once more, That in these gray and latter days There may be those whose life is praise, each life a high doxology To Father, Son and unto Thee.

This hymn speaks of Christ joining in our earthly state at His incarnation. We are reminded both why Jesus’ coming was necessary, as well as the suffering that Jesus endured having come to us. Our fatal, rebel will abused our gift of liberty from God in the garden, placing us under the kingdom of the devil, which displaced us from a right relationship with the Lord. Life lost its flavor in this pit of emptiness, from the futility of birth to the distress of death. But this emptiness is not the way God desires His children to live. Christ has come, by the miraculous virgin birth, taking away our death-ward drift and replacing it with life eternal! Christ has come to “drink for us the dark despair,” taking our futile lives upon Himself and giving valuable meaning to our new life in Him. Christ has joined with us in the flesh, being “made like His brothers in every respect” (Heb. 2:17). Christ’s coming returns us to our intended state of being, restoring us to a right relationship with God, granting us a place in His kingdom. So, dear Christian, we not only remember Christ’s coming this Advent, but we wait also for His most glorious return. Let us not forget this gift of new life and meaning found in the coming of Christ!

Mr. Nathan Demlow

Christ Academy: High School Student, 2018-2020 Christ Academy: High School Proctor, 2021-2022

Sunday, December 4
“O
14

O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)

O Root of Jesse, standing as an ensign among the peoples, before whom all kings are mute, to whom the nations will do homage: Come quickly to deliver us.

Like the remnant of the house of Judah that will “take root downward and bear fruit upward (Is. 37:31),” the root of Jesse will be brought to life. This dead stump will bear fruit upward, and this fruit will be Jesus Christ the Righteous Branch. He will stand as a signal of salvation for the peoples and a resting place for the Gentiles (Rom. 15:12). However, He will also stand as a signal of wrath and fury for the kings of the earth who set themselves against Him (Psalm 2). He is the Lord’s Anointed. He is the King of Zion. He is the Son who possesses the ends of the earth (Psalm 24). Because the kings and rulers of this earth do not “kiss the Son” in fear (act of reverence) and honor, they will be forced to do so on the Last Day in fear (emotion of insecurity) and trembling.

The Church’s prayer for Jesus to “come quickly to deliver us” indicates our daily need to be freed from Satan’s tyranny. We need to daily be called forth from the prison of sin to trust in Christ’s mighty power to save. He gives us victory over the grave, and when He comes again in glory, He will usher in our eternal resting place to live in peace with Him forevermore..

Seminarian David Woelmer

Christ Academy: High School Student, 2013-2015 Christ Academy: College Student, 2017, 2018 Christ Academy: High School Proctor 2019 Christ Academy Assistant Student Director 2019-2020 Christ Academy Student Director 2020-2021, 2022-2023

Monday, December 5
15

Isaiah 11:1, 10

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.

Not much promise with a stump. Moss and mushrooms cover them. The mushrooms are a sign of rot and decay. No future. Only more decomposition until it vanishes forever. Fruitless. Forgotten. Dead. That’s how God’s people felt in their Babylonian Captivity. A vanishing bunch. The throne toppled. King David’s family tree chopped down. Only Jesse’s stump left! Nothing to look forward to sitting in lonely exile. Fruitless. Forgotten. Dead. Not so fast! Prophet Isaiah proclaimed a promise to captive Israel, making them not just prisoners but prisoners of hope! There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit (Is. 11:1). Everything would be okay! There would be a teeny-tiny twig from Jesse’s stump! Not fruitless! Not forgotten! Not dead! “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!” That prayer answered! From the soil of the Virgin’s womb, the teeny-tiny twig sprouted! King David’s family tree had another branch growing! You can’t ask for a better branch for this branch—Branch Jesus—would be planted on Mt. Calvary to fulfill the prophet’s words: In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious (Is. 11:10). Rest in the shadow of Branch Jesus! Come and feast on Branch Jesus’ low hanging fruit! His Body and His Blood given and shed for you! Not fruitless! Not forgotten! Not dead! Ever!

Rev. Aaron Schian Pastor, Grace Lutheran Church, Auburn, Michigan

Christ Academy: High School Student 2003

Christ Academy: High School Professor 2022

Tuesday, December 6
16

Psalm 2

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled.

Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

“Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?” You and I look around, and we see all of the carnage of war and political unrest. “Where is the King?” we ask. Our God is the King of creation, but it sure doesn’t look like it; it seems like He’s abandoned us. Yet listen to what He says: “I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” Yes, our God is seated on His throne, but we don’t see it. All we see are the news headlines that go from bad to worse. All we experience are the divisions in our schools, homes, and churches. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we see the dark, frightening chaos in our own hearts as well. We see all the great ruins, but our Lord by His ruined body, rest in the tomb, and triumphant ascension has begun His kingly reign. Yes, God has set His King, and He gives us simple signs of His reign. The baptismal word spoken by our Heavenly Father is set upon our lips to share with one another: “You are loved; I delight in you.” His Kingly proclamation: “I forgive you,” is placed in our ears by our pastor and our loved ones and in our mouths to share. His reconciling body and blood are set in our mouths to strengthen our faith and reconciliation. Let these simple signs be little proclamations to you of WHO truly reigns today as King of the nations.

Deac. Mika Patron Deaconess, Grace Lutheran Church, Auburn, Michigan

Christ Academy High School Proctor, 2018 Christ Academy: High School Professor, 2022

Wednesday, December 7
17

“Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” (LSB 359)

Lo, how a rose e'er blooming From tender stem hath sprung! Of Jesse's lineage coming As prophets long have sung, It came, a flow'ret bright, Amid the cold of winter, When half-spent was the night.

Isaiah 'twas foretold it, The rose I have in mind; With Mary we behold it, The virgin mother kind. To show God's love aright, She bore to us a Savior, When half-spent was the night.

This flow'r, whose fragrance tender With sweetness fills the air, Dispels with glorious splendor The darkness ev'rywhere. True man, yet very God, From sin and death he saves us And lightens ev'ry load.

O Savior, child of Mary, Who felt our human woe; O Savior, King of glory, Who dost our weakness know: Bring us at length we pray To the bright courts of heaven, And to the endless day.

What is one of the most exquisite fragrances in God’s creation? The rose! How fitting that this beloved German Christmas hymn, from the 16th century, uses the rose, a flow’ret bright, as a metaphor for the sweet promised Savior. The stench of death emanating from our first parents’ disobedience in the Garden of Eden is repugnant. Who will rescue us? Who will save us? Isaiah ‘twas foretold it, the rose I have in mind. “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Is. 7:14). Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as prophets long have sung. This Son of David would be the Savior “who gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Eph 5:2b) to release us from the curse of death.

Do you remember Martha’s response to Jesus’ command to open the tomb of Lazarus? She replied, “Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he has been dead four days” (John 11:39 KJV). And then the Incarnate God, this flow’r whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air, speaks words of life calling Lazarus from his grave. This is the same fragrance of Christ that we are given in our Baptism. “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other, a fragrance of life to life.” (2 Cor: 2:15-16 ESV)

Dearest Jesus, grant us grace to be Your fragrance of life. Amen.

Director of CTSFW Military Project

Christ Academy: High School Professor 2022

Thursday, December 8
18

O Clavis David (O Key of David)

O Key of David and scepter of the house of Israel, You open and no one can close, You close and no one can open: Come and rescue the prisoners who are in darkness and in the shadow of death.

It is no coincidence that the season of Advent, the season of waiting for the light of Christ, comes upon us at the darkest point of the year. Winter’s icy fingers have snatched the last autumn leaves of the season, leaving barren-looking branches in her wake. The sun hangs low in the horizon and sinks all too quickly, giving way to long hours of what northern residents call “The Big Dark.” At the winter solstice, just when the sun is at its lowest point in the sky and it seems like all hope is gone, the darkness begins to recede! It is this way and more with Christ, who has come into the world to save sinners. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).

Jesus has come into the world to enlighten us who are imprisoned in the wintry darkness of sin, doubt, sadness, and hopelessness. He is the Key of David who fulfills the prophecy given to Isaiah seven hundred years before Jesus was born, “and I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open” (Is. 22:22). The Key of David is the authority to use the gifts and resources of the kingdom of God on behalf of its people, and Jesus gives this authority to apply or withhold the forgiveness of sins to the Church via the Office of the Keys (Matt. 16:19). Jesus is a just king who wields this power to close the kingdom of heaven to unrepentant sinners who despise His forgiveness won upon the cross. Their stony hearts are hardened to the message of Advent, that the Word was made flesh so that we might be made into children of God (John 1:12). Thanks be to God that Jesus is also a merciful king who opens the pearly gates of heaven to us when we hear His Word, which enables us to repent of our sins and cling to His forgiveness, life, and salvation won for us at Calvary. When you hear the words of absolution, “in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ I forgive you all your sins,” “arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” (Is. 60:1). The Key of David is here! Jesus has come to storm the gates of hell and plunder Satan of his treasure. He spoils the spoiler of his prey and transfers you out of the domain of darkness into the kingdom of God. There, He banishes the shadows of death by His glorious presence. In His kingdom which has no end, there is only light, laughter, joy, and life because in his presence there is fullness of joy, at his right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Mrs. Cambria Pauls

Christ Academy: High School Student, 2015 Christ Academy: High School Proctor, 2018-2019, 2021 Christ Academy: Assistant Student Director, 2021-2022 Christ Academy: Student Director, 2022-2023

Friday, December 9
19

Ezekiel 37:24-28

My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes. They shall dwell in the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children shall dwell there forever, and David my servant shall be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”

Gods and kings tend to be faraway people; their heavens and thrones stand beyond our everyday experience. But in Christ, all these things draw near. In the incarnation, God establishes his dwelling place among us. Christ our King establishes his throne in our midst.

Ezekiel prophesied to Israel that God would bring them out of Babylon to dwell in the Promised Land once again. But there’s something different with his prophecy. Their new King David would be their prince forever. This wouldn’t be a kingdom bound by time; this new king would reign eternally! Ezekiel was prophesying the reign of Christ.

But Christ’s kingdom doesn’t look like that of David or any of Israel’s past kings. He was of royal descent, but he was born in a barn, not a palace. His royal court is full of all the wrong people—sinners like you and me. And finally his crown is one of thorns; his mighty arm made perfect, nailed to the cross. But it’s through this weakness that Christ makes his covenant of peace with us. His blood has freed us from the chaotic kingdom of death and devil and placed us firmly in his kingdom of peace.

There our King dwells with us, blessing us with his presence in the humble forms of Word and water and bread and wine. No longer is he far away. God has come near and stays near until that day when he will come to bring us into his sanctuary forevermore.

Rev. Ethan Stoppenhagen

Messiah Lutheran Church – Germantown, MD

Christ Academy: High School Student, 2014

Christ Academy: High School Proctor, 2015-2016, 2018

Christ Academy: Student Director, 2019-2020, 2022

Saturday, December 10
20

8 third Sunday in Advent R

Psalm 45:1-8

My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.

You are the most handsome of the sons of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever.

Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one, in your splendor and majesty!

In your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; let your right hand teach you awesome deeds!

Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; the peoples fall under you.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.

Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions; your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.

Sunday, December 11
22

As we anticipate the beginning of things, we also anticipate the end of the age when Christ will return in glory. But how often in Advent do we consider Christ’s ascension? For the King who descends to His throne in Mary’s womb will certainly return at His ascension to establish His throne in the heavens. For He is from of old, working salvation in the earth with His scepter of uprightness. He is the most handsome of the sons of men, the King anointed by God beyond His companions. Saul has struck down his thousands, David his ten thousands, but this King will strike down the innumerable enemies that stand against His chosen people. “Gird your sword! Ride out victoriously! Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; the peoples fall under you.”

If you look at any of the icons of Christ’s ascension, you’ll see Mary as she stands securely in the center as her Son and Lord ascends to the right hand of His Father. She lifts her hands in prayer and adoration as her risen Savior lifts His hands in blessing. Like the Psalmist, her heart echoes with a pleasing theme as she addresses her verses to her King. Her tongue is like a pen of a ready scribe that captures all that she treasures in her heart. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

This Advent, we anticipate our King who is conceived in Mary’s womb, treasured in her heart, and born of her in Bethlehem. Yet we also anticipate our King who fulfills in His ascension what was spoken to Mary by the angel: “The Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Seminarian David Woelmer

Christ Academy: High School Student 2013, 2014, 2015 Christ Academy: College Student 2017, 2018 Christ Academy: High School Proctor 2019 Christ Academy Assistant Student Director 2019-2020 Christ Academy Student Director 2020-2021, 2022-2023

23

“Lift Up Your Heads, You Everlasting Doors” (LSB 339)

Lift up your heads, you everlasting doors And weep no more!

O Zionʼs daughter, sing, To greet your coming King; Now wave the victorʼs palm And sing the ancient psalm: “Lift up your heads, you everlasting gates!” Your King awaits!

Who is this King of great and glorious fame? What is His name?

Lord God of Sabaoth, Of whom the prophets wrote, Whose chosen, humble steed Declares Him king indeed! Hosanna, Lord! Messiah, come and save From sin and grave.

Who may ascend Mount Zionʼs holy hill To do Godʼs will? The One whose unstained hands Can meet the Lawʼs demands, Whose purity within Reveals One free from sin. Come, praise this King who claims the cross as throne— Praise Him alone!

“Worthy is Christ!” The Lamb who once was slain Now lives to reign. He rules our earthly ways As Lord of Ancient Days— O, join the endless song Sung by the ransomed throng: “Worthy is Christ!” The Lamb be praised again! Amen! Amen!

This hymn primarily addresses Christ as King. This title emphasizes Christ’s sovereignty and power, but even within this focus, there are multiple aspects that the hymn unpacks for us. A king is one who orders and governs the land. The king determines right and wrong and ensures justice is carried out when a criminal transgresses the law. In the words of the hymn, Christ “rules our earthly ways.” We are called to live according to God’s Word.

But our king is no tyrant. The good king is not only one who rules the land, but also protects His people and hears their petitions. Just so, our Lord hears our petitions when we plead, “Messiah come and save, from sin and grave.” Although we deserve only death for our sins, God has mercy on the repentant and offers forgiveness through His Son. It is through Christ alone that we find forgiveness of our sins. It is only in “The One whose unstained hands can meet the Law’s demands” that we find salvation and hope, for our hands are stained with the guilt of blood. But in Baptism, we have been washed in the blood of the Lamb, baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection. He has taken our stain upon himself in His death and resurrection.

Seminarian Solomon Spangler

Christ Academy: High School Student, 2014-2015

Monday, December 12
24

O Oriens

O Dayspring, splendor of light everlasting: Come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.

Upon the cross, our dear Lord Jesus was enshrouded in night. The land was covered in darkness for three hours though it was midday. It seemed as though the light of the world had been overcome. It seemed as if a hopeless night had come from which there would be no return. He who is the Light of the world dwelt in darkness and in the very shadow of death. Is this how he comes to enlighten us?

Beloved, this is indeed the way! Jesus entered into the darkness for your sake, so that you might become children of the light. I am reminded of the apostle’s words, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). The light of Christ has dawned upon us, even among us, who are darkened by sin and death. Jesus bore the veil of death so that he might be with you in the darkness of your death with the light of his own Righteousness.

Do you still sit in darkness? Take courage Christian heart, the Eternal Dayspring comes to our benighted sphere. This happens where Jesus’ death and resurrection are proclaimed until his return. Therefore, hasten to see the Light which shines from pulpits and fonts and altars. The Light has not been overcome but the darkness. For Jesus rose on the morning of the third day, banishing sin’s gloom and scattering death’s shadow for all eternity.

Rev. Matthias C. Wollberg

Pastor. St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Riceville, Iowa

Christ Academy: High School Student, 2010-2011 Christ Academy: High School Proctor, 2014-2015 Christ Academy: Assistant Student Director, 2016 Christ Academy: Student Director, 2017

Tuesday, December 13
25

Isaiah 9:2

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.

“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”

–Winston Churchill

In the Garden of Eden, we shaped the world into the land of deep darkness, and thus it shaped us into darkness. Since then, we have done everything to stay away from the dayspring until Christ, who is the Light that has been shown unto us, came to turn us into a new creation of light and to turn the world we live in into a land of light. This Advent season, think about how long the people of the Old Testament were in waiting for the Dayspring from on high, who would bring about an end to the power of sin, and how we too are waiting for that new morning to come when we will be brought into community with Christ at last.

Seminarian David Scarborough Christ Academy College, 2018-2019, 2021

Wednesday, December 14
26

Psalm 27:1-4

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon othe beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.

“Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident” (Psalm 27:3).

A siege was terrifying. Imagine being surrounded by enemy forces, not communicating with the outside world, food and water supplies running low, and you might be on your own with no help to arrive. The greatest weapon in a siege is the morale of the people. If the morale breaks, the will to keep fighting will soon follow. Similarly, the devil is testing the resolve of God’s people and pushing for weak points. Satan will use everything against you to bring down your determination, but help is on the way. A fortress under siege cannot repel the attackers, but it takes an outside army to break the enemy. Likewise, we are no match against the devil and his demons, but the devil has no power against God. Christ alone comes and releases us from the power of Satan, not because of anything we did but because we were powerless to do anything. Christ is king, and at the right hand of God is in the seat of power and will never let the enemy overrun your fortress. He will always be there to defend you and keep you. Amen.

Christ Academy: High School Proctor 2019-2022

Thursday, December 15
27

Come, Thou Bright and Morning Star (LSB 872, emphasis st. 4)

Come, Thou bright and Morning Star, Light of Light without beginning; Shine upon us from afar That we may be kept from sinning. Drive away by Thy clear light Our dark night.

Let Thy grace, like morning dew Falling soft on barren places, Comfort, quicken, and renew Our dry souls and dying graces; Bless Thy flock from Thy rich store Evermore.

May Thy fervent love destroy Our cold works, in us awaking Ardent zeal and holy joy

At the purple morn's first breaking. Let us truly rise ere yet Life has set.

Ah! Thou Dayspring from on high, Grant that at Thy next appearing We who in the graves do lie May arise, Thy summons hearing, And rejoice in our new life, Far from strife.

Light us to those heav'nly spheres, Sun of grace, in glory shrouded; Lead us through this vale of tears

To the land where days unclouded, Purest joy, and perfect peace Never cease.

Friday, December 16
28

In the Old Testament the Israelites waited for the coming of the Messiah, just as today we await the second coming of Jesus Christ. In ancient times Israel hoped in the promise given to the patriarchs; the Church as the new Israel places its hope in the promise given to the apostles that Christ will return on the last day.

Every new sunrise reminds the Church of the coming resurrection, as darkness gives way to light. David writes in the third Psalm, “I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.” In Martin Luther’s morning prayer, we thank God for keeping us from all harm and danger. We rely on God for our waking each morning, just as we rely on Him for the salvation of our souls and our resurrection on the last day.

This Advent, as the sun rises on a new day, waking us from sleep, so too Christ, the Bright and Morning Star, wakens us who lie in graves. In Baptism Christ brings us up from spiritual death and we look forward to our physical bodies rising again on the last day. Let us rejoice in the new life we have received in Baptism, as the strife and darkness of the world is shattered by the light of Christ.

Christ Academy: High School Proctor, 2021, 2022 Christ Academy: College Student, 2019-2022

29

O Rex Gentium

O King of the nations, the ruler they long for, the cornerstone uniting all people: Come and save us all, whom you formed out of clay.

It is hard to imagine what it was like under King David or King Solomon for the people of Israel. It is hard for us to imagine what it would be like to have a king that was in it to serve his people faithfully and not in it for power or money. And not only that, but also a king that was wise, just, uniting, and powerful all at once. What a ruler that would be!

Now imagine that perfect King, but note that in the O Antiphon O Rex Gentium, the King is not just the perfect King of one people group, but He is the King of all nations—the cornerstone uniting all people! He is also the King who formed you out of clay; that is, He is your creator, your God and Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes we fail to remember Jesus as our heavenly and earthly Ruler and King. It is easy to think of Jesus abstractly as savior or friend, but recall how often Jesus proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven that He Himself came to bring.

So, this Advent, remember Jesus coming and coming specifically as your King. He rules over your life. He rules over your church. He rules over your land. And He even rules over every other earthly king who will one day bow the knee to the true Lord of all as they tremble in fear before Him. Come and save us all, O King of Peace!

Rev. Sawyer Meyers

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church – Olive Branch, MS Christ Academy: High School Student, 2012-2013 Christ Academy: High School Proctor, 2014-2015 Christ Academy: Assistant Student Director, 2016-2017 Christ Academy: Student Director, 2017-2018

Saturday, December 17
30

Fourth Sunday in Advent R

8

Isaiah 9:6-7

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

I have to confess, I can’t read this portion of Scripture—Isaiah 9:6-7—without hearing Handel’s rendition of it in his masterpiece oratorio, “Messiah.” If you’re not familiar with it, go look it up after you’re done with devotions. It’s glorious, and it will reverberate in the mind the rest of the day. But for as glorious as it is, even this will likely pale in comparison to the version sung by the angelic choirs, joined by the deathless voices of the martyrs and all of us who will be made incorruptible on the Last Day. On that day, we will see our Lord reigning as King of kings and Lord of lords, as the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, our Prince of Peace.

Nonetheless, this can be a hard thing to remember in the midst of our own political turmoil. Our eyes can easily become clouded over with the chaos and turbulence of the politics, the wars and economic troubles, not to mention our own personal finances, distresses, and hardships. The world can seem very dark with her many distresses. Yet in the midst of this darkness, the Word of God shines out, a ray of hope, a glory leading to further glory. It is a reminder to us that our Lord is the King of kings and that He does, even now, reign on high. Lord, help us to fix our eyes on You, so that even through the darkness of our hardships, we might see the Light of Your eternal glory. Amen.

Rev. Kyle Brown

Pastor, Our Savior Lutheran Church, Lovington, New Mexico and Grace Lutheran Church, Hobbs, New Mexico Student Director, 2014-2016

Sunday, December 18
32

Psalm 110

The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”

The LORD sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies! Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power, in holy garments; from the womb of the morning, the dew of your youth will be yours.

The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”

The Lord is at your right hand; he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath. He will execute judgment among the nations, filling them with corpses; he will shatter chiefs over the wide earth. He will drink from the brook by the way; therefore he will lift up his head.

Many people today like the idea that Church and State are separated. In the days of the Reformation, this was a good thing. It meant that bishops couldn’t be princes, and princes couldn’t be bishops. “Separating” Church and State allowed the Church to focus on proclaiming the Gospel, and the State on administering the Sword. However, for modern folk, to separate Church and State means to completely remove God’s authority from the government, as if the governments aren’t established by God Himself. This makes the government a cozier place. If the Most Holy God isn’t anywhere near the government, then I can do what I want.

The problem with all of that, however, is that Christ is King of all Creation. We confess Christ to be Prophet, Priest, and King. He is our King, and He rules with His mighty Scepter out of Zion. Does this mean the Church has the scepter? No! His scepter is sent forth out of Zion. It has to do with where Christ is crowned—on the Cross of Calvary. Christ’s throne is what appears to be a shame and humiliation to the rest of the world.

This is what we anticipate in Advent—the quiet, humble arrival of Our Lord. He comes not in a parade of glory and pomp, but in the womb of a humble and yet wonderfully Blessed Virgin. How glorious is that?

Seminarian Henry “Sam” Scheltens

Christ Academy: High School Student 2015–2017 Christ Academy: High School Proctor 2020-2021

Monday, December 19
33

God the Father was His source, Back to God He ran His course. Into hell His road went down, Back then to His throne and crown.

St. Ambrose (339-397) here describes the cyclical nature of Jesus’ ministry. He came down to us from the Father at His incarnation and returned to His Father at His ascension. After His death, He descended into hell to proclaim His victory over sin and death, and then made good on His promise and rose from the dead, accomplishing victory for us. As any good king does, Christ marched ahead of His subjects into battle, becoming as one of us in every way, so that “we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection” (Rom. 6:5). When our Lord trod His path to the cross and then returned to His Father, He created a path for us to follow: “We were therefore buried with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).

He truly is King of kings, and “there will be no end of the increase of His government and peace, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom” (Is. 9:7). The Servant of the Lord, to whom God Himself once said, “sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psalm 110:1), will be given “as a light to the Gentiles…my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Is. 49:6). Our Lord reigns at His Father’s right hand, and He has brought His people with Him.

Seminarian Harvey Peters

Christ Academy: High School Student 2018 Christ Academy: College Student 2018, 2021 Christ Academy: High School Proctor 2019, 2022 Christ Academy Assistant Student Director 2022-2023

Tuesday, December 20
“Savior of the Nations, Come,” (LSB 332, st. 5)
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O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, our king and our Lord, the anointed for the nations and their Savior: Come and save us, O Lord our God.

Advent is an interesting part of the Church Year. We prepare our homes and churches to remind us when Jesus was born as we also prepare our hearts for the future when Jesus returns. As Emmanuel, “God with us,” He was physically present with His people during His earthly ministry, and He still is with us today, spiritually through His word and physically through the Eucharist. It is also through the Eucharist that we can understand the nature of God being both “Lawgiver” and “hope of the nations.” God pronounced His Law to the Israelites through Moses, and Jesus fulfills it. God demonstrates His grace through Jesus’ death and resurrection. By His sacrifice and payment for the Law, we are saved from eternal damnation because it covers our sin. Now, we look forward to the Last Day where Christ will rescue us from this sinful Earth where we still experience hurt, sorrow, and unkindness daily. Our cry joins with Moses’ in Psalm 90:13, “Return, O Lord! How long? Have pity on your servants!” While we take this season to celebrate what Christ has already done for us, we also eagerly await Him to complete that which He has promised. Until then, “Come, save us, O Lord our God.”

Deaconess Katie Aiello Deaconess, Concordia Theoloigcal Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Christ Academy: College Student, 2017 CTSFW Deaconess Admission Counselor, 2020-present

Wednesday, December 21
35

Isaiah 7:10–16

Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz: “Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.” And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted.

Isaiah had just been sent by the Lord to King Ahaz of Jerusalem. Ahaz and his people had been shaken up by two opposing kings who had designs to conquer Jerusalem for themselves. God’s message to Ahaz was that this would not come to pass and that Ahaz should stand firm in the faith. The Lord offers Ahaz any sign he wants to confirm the prophecy and bring Ahaz to faith. But Ahaz responded with a statement of false piety because he had no faith. Despite Ahaz’s lack of faith, God is still God. Thus he gives his own sign: the sign of Immanuel. Immanuel means “God with us,” and this is the one who will come, born of a virgin. Long before the child matures, the two kingdoms Ahaz is so worried about will be destroyed. This, of course, is a prophecy pointing forward to Jesus. It is a prophecy of the Lord’s faithfulness and salvation. This is a comfort to us, because even when men are unfaithful, God remains faithful. And the sign that he gives to show his faithfulness is his Son, Jesus Christ. He truly is “God with us,” who has become incarnate to save us through his own death. The sign of Immanuel, therefore, is a call to remain faithful, to put your trust in the Lord, and to look to Him for your salvation. Look to Immanuel, God with us, and you will be saved.

Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne

Christ Academy Student, 2004, 2005 Christ Academy College Student, 2006 Christ Academy IDs, 2014 to present

Thursday, December 22
36

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.

The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.

The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Friday, December 23
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Stat crux dum volvitur orbis. The cross stands still while the world turns. So runs the famous motto of the Carthusians.

In Psalm 46, however, the world isn’t merely turning, rotating peacefully on its axis. Rather, the earth itself “gives way,” and mountains are “moved into the heart of the sea,” whose waters “roar and foam.” The climax comes in verse 6: “The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; [God] utters his voice, the earth melts.”

The divine voice that called all creation into existence in the beginning now causes the earth to melt. The roaring, foaming waters that once engulfed the earth in the flood now swallow the mountains once again.

This picture truly is appropriate for Advent. For in this season, we not only prepare to welcome Jesus at His incarnation. We are also reminded that He is “coming again in glory to judge both the living and the dead.” Yet, as the Carthusian motto reminds us, when the world around us turns—yes, even when it trembles, totters, and melts—the cross of Jesus stands still. Is this cross not the refuge, the strength, the immovable fortress of which Psalm 46 speaks? Is not the bloody water of Jesus’ pierced side the river whose streams make glad the city of God? What do you have to fear, O Christian, soaked in this baptismal water? Even when the world is in tumult, listen to Jesus: “straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).

Rev. Josef Muench

Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church, Twin Valley, Minnesota

Christ Academy: College Student 2014–16

Christ Academy: High School Proctor 2016–17

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“Of the Father’s Love Begotten” (LSB 384 )

Of the Father's love begotten Ere the worlds began to be, He is Alpha and Omega, He the source, the ending He, Of the things that are, that have been, And that future years shall see Evermore and evermore.

Oh, that birth forever blessed, When the virgin, full of grace, By the Holy Ghost conceiving, Bore the Savior of our race, And the babe, the world's Redeemer, First revealed His sacred face Evermore and evermore.

This is He whom seers in old time Chanted of with one accord, Whom the voices of the prophets Promised in their faithful word. Now He shines, the long-expected; Let creation praise its Lord Evermore and evermore.

O ye heights of heav'n, adore Him; Angel hosts, His praises sing, Pow'rs, dominions, bow before Him And extol our God and King. Let no tongue on earth be silent, Ev'ry voice in concert ring Evermore and evermore.

Christ, to Thee, with God the Father, And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving And unending praises be, Honor, glory, and dominion, And eternal victory Evermore and evermore.

Saturday, December 24
39

A faithful son of the church is always doomed to fail when he comments on the words of his fathers. The hymn, “Corde natus ex parentis,” remains one of the greatest hymns of what our Catalog of Testimonies would call, “the ancient and pure church,” (Triglotta, 1107). I pray that it be sung in our churches to commemorate our Lord’s Incarnation, “ever more and ever more.”

God is Love, the apostle writes (1 John 4:8). Love caused Christ’s Incarnation; Love brought Him down to us. God turned to us a Father’s heart and did not choose the easy part. He gave His dearest Treasure. In turning to us a Father’s heart, He sent the Son, begotten of His Father’s love from before all worlds. He who was begotten, not made, was made man. He did this willingly, not due to a failure of power but as a condescension of pity.

His birth of a woman came in the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4-5). The Holy Ghost overshadowed the highly favored virgin. A baby is born with a sacred countenance, to whom all the heavenly armies bend the knee in fealty. Thus stepped forth the Lord of all from His pure and kingly hall. God of God, yet fully man, His heroic course began (LSB 332). And not only angels salute the God-Man, but also the glorious company of the apostles, the goodly fellowship of the prophets, and the noble army of martyrs. Every voice in concert rings, “evermore and evermore.”

Vicar Joseph Greenmyer

Christ Academy: College Student, 2017- 2018 Christ Academy: High School Proctor, 2018-2020 Christ Academy: Student Director, 2021-2022

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John 1: 1-14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This Word that made all things is now made itself into the very flesh He once created, so now when He sees His bride, the Church, He can sing out as Adam once did, “bone of My bones, and flesh of My flesh.” This eternal Word, begotten of His Father from eternity, is now begotten of a woman, so He can grant the sonship which only He possesses by right to all those who have also been born of women, under the curse of the Law. No longer are we slaves to sin, to our corrupted flesh, or even to death, because the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we have seen His glory. We have seen the glory of that creating Light of light, we have heard that voice which spoke in the beginning and made everything that was made, and thus He has worked yet another miracle by creating new and living hearts within us. Just as the Israelites in days of old looked upon the bronze serpent hanging upon a pole, and in their looking they were given life, so too when we look upon the cross of the Son of man and believe in Him, we will not perish but we will live in our Father’s house with His Son and all the saints forever.

Seminarian Harvey Peters

Christ Academy: High School Student 2018

Christ Academy: College Student 2018, 2021

Christ Academy: High School Proctor 2019, 2022

Christ Academy Assistant Student Director 2022-2023

Sunday, December 25
41

The Three Year Lectionary: Series A Advent to Epiphany

SEASON DATE FESTIVAL GOSPEL

ADVENT Nov. 27

Dec. 4

First S. in Advent (Ad Te Levavi) Matt. 21:1–11 or Matt. 24:36–44

Second S. in Advent (Populus Zion) Matt. 3:1–12

Dec. 11

Dec. 18

Third S. in Advent (Gaudete) Matt. 11:2–15

Fourth S. in Advent (Rorate Coeli) Matt. 1:18–25

CHRISTMAS

Dec. 24 Eve The Nativity of Our Lord Matt. 1:18–25

Dec. 25 Midnight The Nativity of Our Lord Luke 2:1–14 (15–20)

Dec. 25 Dawn The Nativity of Our Lord Luke 2:1–14 (15–20)

Dec. 25 Day The Nativity of Our Lord John 1:1–14 (15-18)

Dec. 26

First S. after Christmas or St. Stephen, Martyr Luke 2:22–40 2 Chron. 24:17–22

Dec. 31 Eve of the Circumcision and Name of Jesus Luke 12:35–40

Jan. 1

EPIPHANY

Circumcision and Name of Jesus or First S. after Christmas

Luke 2:21 Matt. 2:13–23

Jan. 6 The Epiphany of Our Lord Matt. 2:1–12

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