171225 Luke 2:13-14

Text: Luke 2:13-14
Theme: Peace For The Broken

It was our first Christmas in our first house. Shannon and I had lived in three different apartments the first three years after we got married, but now we finally had a place we could call our own. We could paint the walls whatever color we wanted. We could pound nails into the walls wherever we wanted. And we could decorate our house for Christmas however we wanted.

That first year we didn't go over the top with a Griswoldesque outdoor light display, but we did go out and get a tree, a real tree with lights and tinsel and ornaments. Part of the fun of putting ornaments on the tree is that each one is special. Some have sentimental value. Some have monetary value. And a few ornaments have both.

My wife is an Irish girl from an Irish town, and so one of our first ornaments was a gift from one of her friends who worked at the Irish store. It was one of those delicate glass blown ornaments. I can't remember if it was a leprechaun or a shamrock or something else, but I do know that it was green.

One day I noticed something on the tree that didn't look quite right, and when I tried to fix it that's when it happened. I knocked the wire hook holding up the Irish ornament, and it fell. Even though it felt like it was falling in slow motion, I wasn't able to catch it in time. The shiny, green, expensive ornament hit the hard floor, and when it did it broke. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that it shattered into pieces.

My initial response was panic. I tried to pick up the pieces. For a brief moment, I entertained the thought that I might be able to glue all those pieces back together, but reality quickly set in. I couldn't undo what had been done. I couldn't fix what I had done. The ornament in my hands was irreparably broken.

That long-forgotten memory flooded back to me when I looked at this postcard. It's a picture of an ornament, a broken ornament. We mailed out a few thousand of these Christmas invitations a couple weeks ago. Maybe you are here today because you received one and decided to check us out. Maybe you shared this invitation with someone you know.

But much more important than the picture on this postcard is its message. Much more important than any Christmas decoration is the message of Christmas. It was this good news of great joy the angels proclaimed to the shepherds. It is the same good news our Savior shares with us today. On this Christmas Day the Christ child gives us a priceless gift. Today Jesus opens his hands and holds out...


Read more: 171225 Luke 2:13-14

171217 Romans 16:25-27

Text: Romans 16:25-27
Theme: The End Is Near: Praise God!

What do the Lord's Prayer, Paul's letter to the Romans, and the Advent season have in common? Besides the fact that they are all associated with Christianity, besides the fact that they are all a part of our worship today, each one ends with a song of praise called a doxology.

A few minutes from now we will pray the Lord's Prayer. We will ask God for his kingdom to come and his will to be done. We will pray for forgiveness and for our daily bread. And at the end of the prayer we will praise God with this doxology: "For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever."

Paul's letter to the Romans is heavy on doctrine. For fifteen chapters the apostle explains the doctrines of justification and sanctification and how those teachings apply to Christian lives. Chapter sixteen (the final chapter) is different. There is a long list of greetings. There are a few final warnings. And then Paul brings his letter to a close with a beautiful doxology (which is also our sermon text for today).

The Advent season is a time for meditation and reflection. For four weeks we have been watching and waiting for our Savior to come, and in a few short days he will. He will come to us in a manger. He will come in poverty and humility. He will come to save the world from sin.

But Christians also believe that Jesus will come again. He will come in glory. He will come to judge the living and the dead. When Jesus comes back life as we know it will come to an end. When Jesus comes back our joy will never end. That gives us reason to break out into another doxology as we come to the end of another Advent season. Christians, lift up your heads. Christians, lift up your voices...


I. For revealing himself through the words of the prophets
II. For strengthening his people through the proclamation of the gospel

Read more: 171217 Romans 16:25-27

171210 Isaiah 61:1-3

Sermon Text: Isaiah 61:1 – 3
Sermon Theme: Don't Lose Sight of Your Advent Savior!

How are your preparations going for Christmas? Are you getting your shopping done? Is your house clean and ready for company? Or, are you feeling over-whelmed by all that needs to get done yet before Christmas Day? Isn't it far too easy for you and me to get caught up in the earthly preparations at this time of year? That's one reason why it is good for us to be here in God's house today. That's why it is good for us to have a season in the Calendar of the Christian Church like Advent. As we gather together around the Word of our God we focus on our Savior's first coming to this earth and his coming again on the Great Last Day. Putting aside all the earthly distractions, in our worship service today each one of us hears the encouragement: DON'T LOSE SIGHT OF YOUR ADVENT SAVIOR! Listen now as I read for you from Isaiah's prophecy, chapter 61, the first three verses.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion--to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

Read more: 171210 Isaiah 61:1-3

171206 Midweek Advent 2

Theme: As Angels Joyed With One Accord

"Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue." According to tradition a bride is supposed to wear those four things on the day of her wedding. It is possible, however, to apply those words to more than just marriage. "Something old, something new, some borrowed, something blue" can also be used to describe our midweek Advent devotions this year.

The paraments remind us that blue is the color of Advent, and we are borrowing from the tradition of singing Christmas carols this time of year by singing (and studying) three different Advent anthems. Last Wednesday it was "Hark! A Thrilling Voice Is Sounding" (CW 15), a Latin hymn that dates all the way back to the 6th century, and so it definitely qualifies as "something old." Next Wednesday Pastor Schlomer's devotion will focus on another hymn, "My Soul Now Magnifies the Lord" (CW 274), which borrows its content from Mary's song of praise know as the Magnificat (see Luke 1).

The only thing we still need is "something new," and as we begin paging through the Advent section of the hymnal it doesn't take long to find what we are looking for. Only a few pages in the fifth hymn was written in the latter half of the twentieth century, and as far as hymns go it couldn't be much newer. The author is pastor and poet, Werner Franzmann, who wrote five hymns in Christian Worship including the Advent anthem that that we will focus our thoughts on tonight. I invite you to follow along in your hymnals as we meditate on the words of Christian Worship 5...


Read more: 171206 Midweek Advent 2

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.


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