Advent Devotion

Hark! A thrilling voice is sounding!
“Christ is near,” we hear it say.
“Cast away the works of darkness,
All you children of the day!”
(LSB 345 st. 1)

“A voice cries: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’”
(Isaiah 40:3-5)

John the Baptist fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” when he came “proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3-4). A call to repentance, however, always assumes the hearers have something of which they need to repent. To “cast away the works of darkness” is to recognize ourselves as utterly unworthy of standing before God due to the sinful thoughts, words, and deeds that flow out of the darkened hearts of our sinful nature; but we who are children of the day (that is, we who trust in the promises of God) are made worthy. When John the Baptist declared “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”, he was proclaiming that it is through this man, Jesus of Nazareth, that the obstacles to God are removed. For it is in the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ for our works of darkness that the glory of the Lord has been revealed.
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Let us pray: Heavenly Father, help us to dwell on the fact that “Christ is near” to us in Your Word and Sacraments, and that by grace through faith in Him, we are Your “children of the day.” Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
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(Written by Zachary A. Courie, Sem IV)

Advent Devotion

Not by human flesh and blood,
By the Spirit of our God,
Was the Word of God made flesh,
Virgin’s offspring pure and fresh.
(LSB 332, stanza 2)
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“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.”
(John 1:14)

God is often thought of as beyond our reach. There are times when we think that God is far away, and we are left to suffer alone. Yet what we don’t perceive with our eyes, we can receive by faith with our ears in hearing that God humbled Himself to become flesh and share in our suffering. While He was wholly different in being God, He was also wholly the same so that our flesh might be redeemed by His flesh. Jesus is the Word made flesh and yet this is not the entirety of His glory. His glory has been revealed to us especially in His submission to the cross. In His bodily death, resurrection, and ascension He has made all who believe and are baptized into His name to be a new creation. Because we are His new creation, He continues to sustain and fill us with His grace and truth in the Word and Sacraments until He comes again in glory. In all these ways we may know that He abides with us just as He has promised.
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Let us pray: Almighty God, in the Word made flesh You dwelt among us and have promised to never leave us nor forsake us. Grant that we would be strengthened by Your grace and truth until we see You face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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(Written by Garrett Buvinghausen, Sem IV)

Advent Devotion

Savior of the nations, come,
Virgin’s Son, make here Your home!
Marvel now, O heav’n and earth,
That the Lord chose such a birth.
LSB 332, st. 1
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“For my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”
Luke 2:30-32

To see the Lord’s salvation is to see Jesus the Christ. Simeon saw Him as an infant being presented at the Temple for purification, when in reality He would purify the world with the shedding of His blood on the cross of Calvary. Advent is a penitential season of preparation for all of God’s baptized children. Penitential means that we are specifically focused on living in repentance by showing sorrow for our sins and trusting in God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ. We use this time leading up to Christmas to prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth, or his first coming. Yet in doing this, we also look forward to His second coming on the last day. This looking forward is to be repentant and faithful. It looks toward seeing the salvation which God has prepared in the presence of all nations as a revealing light to all who might be saved for the glory of God’s children who have been baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection. May God bless you this Advent as you prepare for the coming of the Savior.
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Let us pray: Almighty God, prepare our hearts for the coming of the Savior, that we might see His light and glory through His death and resurrection unto eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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(Written by Garrett Buvinghausen, Sem IV)