Festival of St. Stephen, Martyr
Second Day of Christmas
December 26, 2014
Well the last week has been busy, that is for sure. Worship on Advent IV, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, family from out of town, and visiting Marion in the hospice home has kept me moving. What fell by the wayside were these worship notes for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Of course the days came and we gathered to worship even without these posts. We had a full house Christmas Eve and, as usual, a slight turnout for Christmas Day. The messages have been posted on the sermon page. The Christmas Eve message was a retelling of the Christmas story, with biblical and historical context. Can you spot the OT biblical themes woven into the story? As has been my practice for years, the Christmas Day “sermon” was really different medications inspired by the carols we sang. Those were, “The First Noel,” “Away in a Manger,” “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
This coming Sunday is the Fourth Day of Christmas. The Fourth Day of Christmas is one of two dark commemorations during the season of Christmas. The first one is today, when we remember St. Stephen who was martyred. Sunday’s is the Festival of The Holy Innocents, Martyrs. We will use the readings assigned for this festival. They are Jeremiah 31:15-17, Revelation 14:1-5 and Matthew 2:13-18. The sermon is titled “No Snow Globe Christmas.” The text is Matthew 2:16.
This will be a communion service. We will be using the first setting of the Divine Service (page 151). Our opening hymn will be “O Little Town of Bethlehem” (LSB 361). The sermon hymn will be “By All Your Saints in Warfare’ (verses 1, 9, and 3 of LSB 517). The distribution hymns will be “Draw Near and Take the Body of the Lord” (LSB 637), “Gentle Mary Laid Her Child” (LSB 374) and “A Great and Mighty Wonder” (LSB 383). Our closing hymn will be “What Child Is This” (LSB 370).
Below is a video of a children’s choir singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”
Here are the lessons for Sunday.
15 Thus says the Lord:
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.”
16 Thus says the Lord:
“Keep your voice from weeping,
and your eyes from tears,
for there is a reward for your work,
declares the Lord,
and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
17 There is hope for your future,
declares the Lord,
and your children shall come back to their own country.
14:1 Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. 2And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, 3and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, 5and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.
13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”
Some Additional Notes
- The January newsletter should be available Sunday. To be honest, I haven’t finished my parts yet, but I’ll be getting to them today.
- Our Christmas decorations will remain up throughout the Sundays in the Christmas season. That means both this Sunday and Sunday, January 4. Following the January 4 service, those present will be invited to remain after the service and help us take down the decorations. People will also be able to take home their Poinsettias.
- I was so pleased by the vote Sunday where the members of Lamb of God committed themselves to pray for their 100 closest neighbors this coming year. To assist with this the congregation is joining pray4everyhome.com. Our members are encouraged to visit the site, sign up, and get a list of their neighbors.
- Please keep Ray and Marion in your prayers.
- New sign-up sheets for the coming year have been posted in the narthex.
Blessings in Christ,