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FIRST SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS

Exodus 13:1–3a, 11–15

Colossians 3:12–17

Luke 2:22–40

The Firstborn Son of God Is Our Redemption from Sin and Death

When the Lord destroyed the firstborn sons of Egypt, He spared the sons of Israel by providing a lamb in their stead. Hence, all the firstborn sons belong to Him. Every firstborn male animal was sacrificed, and every firstborn son of man was redeemed (Ex. 13:12–13). Therefore, the parents of Jesus “brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord” (Luke 2:22). However, He is not redeemed from priestly service but is consecrated for “the redemption of Jerusalem” and “the consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25, 38). For God the Father did not spare His only begotten Son, but offered Him up as the true Passover Lamb, in order to redeem His people from bondage. His cross has caused many to stumble and fall, but His blood atoned for the sins of the world and delivers us from death. We now depart in the peace of Christ because we are also raised with Him. As we receive His body and blood, we join Simeon and Anna in “giving thanks to God the Father through him,” “singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” including the Nunc Dimittis, with thankfulness in our hearts (Luke 2:28–32, 38; Col. 3:15–17).

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NEW YEAR’S EVE

Isaiah 30:(8–14) 15–17

Romans 8:31b–39

Luke 12:35–40

Our Times Are in His Hand

The Church and the world are awake, but for very different reasons. The world counts down to midnight; the Church watches eagerly for her Master, who is “coming at an hour” we “do not expect” (Luke 12:40). For many, the changing year brings regrets, fears and desperate wishes for improvement. The world delights in smooth talk and illusions of prosperity at any cost (Is. 30:9–10). It has already forgotten “the Holy One of Israel” born six days earlier (Is. 30:11). The Church ends the calendar year differently. “In returning and rest … in quietness and in trust,” that is, in repentance and faith, for the Holy One saves us, and He is our strength (Is. 30:15). Our “times are in [His] hand” (Ps. 31:15), the hand of Mary’s Son — God not only with us, but for us (Matt. 1:23). So, who could be against us? If God has given His Son, “how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:31–32). The Church dresses for action not in fear, but in hope; Christ is coming to serve her with His gifts (Luke 12:37). Who is there to condemn us for the passing year? Christ has died, is raised and intercedes for us! What distress will the new year bring? Nothing can “separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:34–39)!

 

 

 

 

One Comment

  • Alan Stetz

    Advent is a season observed in Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas and the return of Jesus at the Second Coming.

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