130106 Matthew 2:1-12

Text: Matthew 2:1-12
Theme: The Importance of Epiphany

Today is January 6th, the twelfth day after Christmas, the day also known as the Festival of the Epiphany of our Lord. That title sounds pretty impressive, doesn't it? Since Epiphany is a special festival day it must be one of the more important dates on the Christian calendar, or is it?

Like Christmas (which always falls on December 25th) Epiphany falls on the same day every year. But unlike Christmas most churches don't have special services on Epiphany unless January 6th falls on a Sunday, like it does this year. Because of this practice we might conclude that Epiphany (which is sometimes called the Christmas of the Gentiles) is not all that important, or at least not as important as Christmas.

But on those years when Epiphany doesn't fall on a Sunday, many churches (ours included) celebrate it anyway. Instead of holding special services on January 6th, we traditionally observe this festival on the closest Sunday either before or after Epiphany. And because so many other churches do the same we might conclude that Epiphany is important.

So which is it? Is Epiphany a big deal or isn't it? Is the Festival of the Epiphany of our Lord important or not?

Read more: 130106 Matthew 2:1-12

121230 Luke 2:41-52

Text: Luke 2:41-52

Theme: Go Home With Jesus This Christmas

"I'll be home for Christmas." The song made famous by Bing Crosby in 1943 became reality for the Pagels clan in 2012. Right after the Christmas Day service on Tuesday, we loaded up the Buick and made the six-hour trek to Clare, Michigan where we spent a few days with my wife's family.

How about you? Did you get home for Christmas? Or did family members travel to spend the holidays with you? If you weren't able to get home, or if you had other plans this year, you don't have to feel like you missed out because there is still time for you to go home before the Christmas season is over. Not to your hometown. Not to the place where you grew up. Today we have the opportunity to go home with Jesus for Christmas.

Read more: 121230 Luke 2:41-52

121225 Luke 2:13-14

Text: Luke 2:13-14
Theme: Glory to God in the Highest!

"Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.'"

There are many different things that bring people joy at this time of year. For some, it may be getting that present that was on the top of their Christmas list. For others, it may be the time that is spent with family and friends. For us as Christian, we know that the true and lasting joy of this time of year comes in the Good News of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. One thing that many people enjoy at this time of year is the music that we hear. What is your favorite type of Christmas music? Maybe you enjoy listening to music played by a single instrument, like a guitar, a harp or a piano. Maybe for you the best Christmas music is that played by an entire orchestra of instruments. Perhaps you are like me, and enjoy listening to a large choir sing out those familiar Christmas hymns. Imagine how the shepherds felt that first Christmas night. They were in a quite field, watching after the flocks of sheep, when suddenly the sky turned blinding bright. Then a messenger from the Lord began to speak to them. Then suddenly that one angel was joined by a massive choir of angels. All proclaiming the Good News that the Savior, Jesus Christ, had been born. As we gather together this Christmas Day to give glory to our New-Born King, we will look at the praise of the angels as they proclaimed, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Read more: 121225 Luke 2:13-14

121216 Luke 3:7-18

Text: Luke 3:7-18
Theme: John: The Ultimate Advent Example

Is there such a thing as too much of a good thing? When it comes to my favorite Christmas candy (which is peanut brittle), maybe. When it comes to the no-stop barrage of television Christmas specials that have nothing to do with Christmas, definitely. But what about Advent? What about the most prominent figure of Advent? Is it possible to spend too much time talking about John the Baptist?

I ask the question because John the Baptist was the focus of our worship last weekend. Pastor Schmidt's sermon was about John. Five of the six hymns we sang had something to do with John. So has enough been said about him? Is it time for us to move on? If you are looking for my answer to those questions, all you have to do is look at the theme for this sermon.

Read more: 121216 Luke 3:7-18

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