Greetings in Christ,

Happy New Year!

Advent marks the beginning of a new church year and this Sunday is the first Sunday in Advent. Advent, which means “coming” in Latin, is the season of preparation for Christ’s coming. We prepare to remember His first coming in His incarnation as well as looking forward to His return in glory.

You’ll notice that this week’s Gospel text sounds similar to last week’s Gospel text for the last Sunday of the church year. They are parallel texts. We heard from Mark last week, but now we hear from Luke.

[Note: Immanuel uses the Three Year Lectionary (That’s where we get the readings for each Sunday). Some readings land on the same days each year, but you’ll notice that the bulk of the Gospel readings come from a single Gospel. Year A focuses on Matthew. Year B on Mark. Now we begin Year C where Luke takes the spotlight. John ends up being intermixed into each year.]

Pastor Troup will be preaching this weekend and he’s preaching on the text from the Epistle lesson in 1 Thess. 3 encouraging us to grow in Christ.

Also, midweek Advent services start this week. There will be dinner starting at 5, and then the service will begin at 7:30 pm. We’ll be working through the Athanasian Creed. This Wednesday Pastor Troup will preach about the Trinity, and next Wednesday I’ll preach on the Two Natures of Christ. Our third, and final midweek Advent service will contain more singing and lessons as we prepare to celebrate Christmas morning.

I look forward to seeing you then.

As you prepare for the Divine Service this weekend, you can take a look at the Service Folder to find the readings, prayers, and other parts of the service that will help to guide your reflection and prayer.

Here’s the Lectionary Summary for the upcoming weekend that ties the themes of the weekend together:

The Lord Jesus Comes in Humility to Redeem Us

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

If you weren’t able to join us for service last week, you can catch up now.
I look forward to seeing you this weekend!

Blessings on your day!

In Christ,
Pastor Demski