The Fourth Sunday in Advent December 19, 2021
Text: Luke 1:39-55 CW-21 3 Year Series C 21:2292
Theme: My Soul Magnifies the Lord.
Have you noticed? There is a strange thing about the days of December. To adults they pass quickly: so much to do, so many things to get, not enough time to complete it all! But to a child the days of December pass more slowly than the days of any other month. As Christmas draws near, the days seem longer until at last they drag by so slowly that one wonders if December 25th will ever arrive. That’s the way I felt about Christmas when I was a child. In my excitement it seemed like the day would never come.
If you ever felt the same way, how would you feel if you had to wait for Christmas to come not just a few short days or weeks, but for hundreds, yes, thousands of years. You have known whose birthday Christmas is as far back as you can remember. But thousands of years ago people hoped and prayed for it to come, yet they did not know when or how it would happen. For them the birth of Christ was only a promise, a very old promise given by God.
God first gave the Promise when the gate to the Garden of Eden was slammed shut behind Adam and Eve because of their sin. God promised that He Himself, somehow, through one of their children, would win back that wonderful friendship with God which they had so carelessly cast aside when they disobeyed His command. Did they fully understand the Promise – when, where, or how it would happen? They only knew that God promised to crush Satan’s head through one of their descendants (Gn.3:15). But that was enough. As fallen sinners they longed for and trusted God’s Promise. Someday, they believed, they would walk and talk with God again.
God repeated the Promise to Abraham. Someday, through one of his children, all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Gn.12:3). Abraham did not know when, where, or how. He had only God’s promise, and he trusted Him.
King David, too, trusted God in His promise, the Promise that someday, somehow one of his children would rule over a kingdom that would never end (2 Sam.7:12f).
Isaiah, Jeremiah, and all the other prophets longed, hoped, prayed for, and even prophesied about the Savior whom God said that He would someday send. They did not know the exact time He would come. They had only God’s Promise.
“Suddenly the Lord, whom you are seeking, will come to His temple! The Messenger of the Covenant, in whom you delight will surely come,” God told Malachi (3:1).
“Look! The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and name Him Immanuel,” Isaiah foretold (7:14).
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, from you will go out the One who will be the ruler for me in Israel. His goings forth are from the beginning, from the days of eternity…. He will stand and shepherd (His people) with the strength of the LORD…. And He will be their peace,” Micah proclaimed (5:2f).
The Promise grew clearer. But then, 400 years passed, and God said nothing more. During that time, the Savior did not come. There was silence. And heavens doors seemed like brass.
Twenty-five days in December can seem like a long time to wait. But what about 400 years, together with the 4,000 years that preceded it? Could you hold to a promise that long?
I don’t know what your family history is, but my grandfather was born about 140 years ago. My great grandfather around 170 years ago. My great, great grandfather immigrated here in the 1850s. I know little about them who lived decades in the past, and nothing, absolutely nothing of my ancestors who lived 4 centuries ago. I have no idea who they were, where they came from, or what they did. Such were the ways and the time that elapsed when the last bit of God’s Promise was given. Would you stake your life on a Promise made so long ago which still had not yet come to pass?
Then, just as God promised, it suddenly, unexpectedly began to take place, that which is the greatest, most wonderful, and most incomprehensible of all mysteries of the Christian faith. An angel descends from God’s heaven to tell a virgin, named Mary, “Listen, you will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will never end. The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So, the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Lk.1:31ff). Mary would become the mother of God’s Son, the promised Savior.
This is indeed a truly remarkable mystery. To consider it carefully is like looking into the flaming midday sun with your naked eye. The longer you look, the darker it appears. But the sun continues to glow bright, retaining all its glorious light. So also the great mystery of God made flesh – come to save us! It is worthy of divine, heavenly wisdom which does nothing idly or unnecessarily but has a great and important goal for everything it undertakes.
Everyone must admit that all people are sinful creatures, that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rm.3:23). There is no one holy as He demands (Lv.19:2); no one who always does what is right. For one to deny that would place him among the greatest of hypocrites. God has spoken: “There is no one who is righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands. They all turned away. There is no one who does what is good, not even one” (Rm.3:10f). And so, no one can know from his own understanding how he or she can again become pleasing, just, and holy before God. There is nothing more important for us than for God Himself to reveal how we could be reconciled with Him, which was the Promise. This was revealed in the incarnation of Jesus.
God became man to save us fallen creatures and make us pleasing to Him once again. Was this work of God-becoming-man unworthy of Him, a lowering of His being? No! God became a man so that by His suffering and death He could blot out sin and redeem us, so that all who believe the Promise, fulfilled, can be saved.
In this promised redemption God revealed His holiness and His love, the magnitude of which is incalculable. Think of it. Only after He, the holy, eternal, and just One, endured all the punishment our sins deserved, could He first forgive us. Oh, how unfathomably great must be His love that caused Him to lay upon His only begotten Son all our sin! Would you freely give up your son to die in place of a hardened criminal who has done bad and murderous things? God did. He sent His Son to this world at Christmas and gave Him up in disgrace on Good Friday, suffering death upon a cross to pay the penalty for the sin that you and I were powerless to bear. What is this that God was unable to save any sinner unless His dear Son had endured the punishment of sin?! What is this that God becomes a man in the face of Christ Jesus for the purpose of reconciling all people to Himself by surrendering His own life?!
And now it begins, dear friends, after thousands of years of promise and waiting. Here it begins in the mystery of the incarnation of God. At last God comes for us to help us in our greatest need. For when the set time had fully come, God sent His Son to be born of a woman, so that He would be born under the law to redeem us who were under the law, so that we would be adopted as sons and heirs of God through Christ” (Ga.4:4f).
Once again in the family of God, walking at His side and talking with Him! Once again rejoicing in wonderful friendship and fellowship with our Maker! Once again made holy before Him by faith in Christ Jesu! Once again destined for Paradise!
So it is that with Mary we cannot help but sing this Christmas: “My Soul Magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior, because He has looked with favor on the humble state of His servant…The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is His name.” The long-awaited Promise is fulfilled!
What awesome mystery is this! Grace beyond measure… worthy to enlarge and to proclaim its greatness for others to see… in which to rejoice in God now and forever, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
You can also find us on Facebook
The Fourth Sunday in Advent December 19, 2021
“My soul magnifies (proclaims the greatness of the Lord), and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…because the Mighty One has done great things for me.” Lk.1:46f
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
We extend a warm and sincere welcome in our Savior’s name. Please sign our guest book, located to the right just outside the sanctuary. If you desire more information about Zion Lutheran Church or are in need of spiritual guidance, please call upon our pastor at any time. We are delighted to have you join us today and invite you to return soon.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“Show us Your unfailing love, O LORD, and grant us Your salvation. I will listen to what God the LORD will say; He promises peace to His people. Surely His salvation is near those who fear Him, that His glory may dwell in our land. Love and faithfulness meet together.” (Psalm 85)
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
The Lord Draws Near, Lifting Up the Humbled. The Scriptures today take us to the threshold of the New Testament. The One who establishes God’s covenant of peace draws near. The time of Old Testament preparation is done, and the age of New Testament fulfillment arrives.
Lowly Elizabeth and Mary begin the grand celebration with songs of joy that glorify God for all the great things He has done for His people. But none of the blessings of the past supersede the one He is about to bring upon the earth – the birth of the Savior. Humbled as they were by His grace, we join with them this Sunday before Christmas to glorify our God and Savior at His coming. He is the holy God who lifts up the humbled and fills them with good things.
So we pray: Stir up Your power, Lord, and come. Take away the burden of our sins and make us ready for the celebration of Your birth, that we may receive You in joy and serve You always, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d T o d a y –
The Old Testament Lesson: Micah 5:2-5
The prophet foretells the place of Messiah’s birth. He will come out of the humble, tiny town of Bethlehem. He will shepherd God’s people in His strength, and they will live securely.
The Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 10:5-10
When Christ came into the world, He came not to sacrifice more animals according to the O.T. Law, but to sacrifice Himself and thus establish the New Covenant of grace. He sacrificed Himself once to make us holy so that at His coming we may confidently place our hope in Him.
The Gospel Lesson: Luke 1:39-55
Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth who already carries the infant John within her. Humbled by God’s grace, understanding that He will now fulfill His promise of sending the Savior, both Elizabeth and Mary rejoice to be recipients of His mercy towards sinners.
O u r P r a c t i c e o f H o l y C o m m u n i o n
The Lord’s Supper is a wonderful gift in which we receive Jesus’ own body and blood to forgive our sins and strengthen us in faith. It is a gift given with certain responsibilities. The Sacrament is intended for those who have been instructed, understand, and confess as one what they are receiving and doing. Through it we express our unity of faith (1 Cor.10:17). Therefore, we ask that only confirmed members of Zion Lutheran Church or our sister congregations of the WELS or ELS approach to receive Communion. If you would like to become a communicant member of Zion or have any questions about our practice, the pastor would be happy to meet with you after the service.
The Organist: Jane Rips The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Singers: Laurie Moon, Jane Rips, & Pastor Lehmann
Point to Ponder “My soul doth magnify the Lord.” How rare is such humility that praises only God! How many of the great, the wealthy, and the wise in the world give such due credit to God alone? To the believer every blessing is a new cause for humble acknowledgment of one’s own unworthiness and God the Savior’s magnificent mercy and grace. Such a view moves the soul to magnify the Lord.” — Martin Luther
Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel, And open wide our heav’nly home.
Outline of Our Worship
Opening Hymn: #28
Order of Worship: Service of Word and Sacrament Hymnal page 26
The Ministry of the Word
Anthem: O Jesus, Grant Me Hope and Comfort
The Gospel Response: pg.30
Sermon Hymn: #23
Sermon: Luke 1:39-55 My Soul Magnifies the Lord!
Our Response to the Word
The Nicene Creed: page 31
The Offering & Prayers Hymnal page 32
Lord, Bless Us
Order of Holy Communion: Hymnal pages 33-35
(Visitors: Please read box inside about the practice of Holy Communion)
Distribution Hymn: #5
Thanksgiving & Blessing: Hymnal pages 36-37
The Fourth Sunday in Advent – Series C
Old Testament: Micah 5:2-5 – The Ruler To Be Born in Little Bethlehem
1But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, from you, will go out the one who will be the ruler for me in Israel. His goings forth are from the beginning, from the days of eternity.
3Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time when the woman who is in labor bears a child. Then the remaining survivors from his brothers will return to the people of Israel.
4He will stand and shepherd with the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. They will dwell securely, for at that time he will be great to the ends of the earth.
5This one will be their peace.
Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 10:5-10 – Animal Sacrifices Are Not Sufficient
4 The fact is that the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins. 5Therefore when he entered the world, Christ said:
Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but you prepared a body for me. 6You were not pleased with burnt offerings and sin offerings.
7Then I said, “Here I am. I have come to do your will, God. In the scroll it is written about me.”
8First he said:
Sacrifices and offerings that were offered according to the law, both burnt offerings and sin offerings, you did not desire, and you were not pleased with them.
9Then he said:
Here I am. I have come to do your will.
He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10By this will, we have been sanctified once and for all, through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ.
Gospel Lesson: Luke 1:39-55 – Mary’s Song of Praise
39In those days Mary got up and hurried to the hill country, to a town of Judah. 40She entered the home of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41Just as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42She called out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44In fact, just now, as soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy! 45Blessed is she who believed, because the promises spoken to her from the Lord will be fulfilled!” 46Then Mary said:
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, 47and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior, 48because he has looked with favor on the humble state of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed, 49because the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
51He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52He has brought down rulers from their thrones. He has lifted up the lowly. 53He has filled the hungry with good things, but the rich he has sent away empty.
54He has come to the aid of his servant Israel, remembering his mercy, 55as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his offspring forever. The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) © 2019 The Wartburg Project.
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service
with Holy Communion online -Facebook
Pre-Christmas Brunch & Fellowship
Midweek Bible Study
No Confirmation Class this week
| 6 pm
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at Zion
Children’s & Candlelight Service at Peace
|Feast of the Nativity – Christmas Day||9:00 am
Divine Worship Service
online – Facebook
10:15 am Fellowship & Bible Study
2nd Christmas Day
Feast of St. Stephen
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
God left enough clues for the people of the Old Testament to know what was coming in the Messiah. This not only included the city in which He would be born, but also what His great work would be—the sacrifice “once for all.” How exciting it must have been for those who realized it was now happening!
The Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 10:5-10 (answers are found on the back side)
- Why wasn’t God pleased with the sacrifices of the Old Testament times?
- What assurances do you have now that Jesus has finished His work?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Clyde Johnson; Greg Miller; Lou Schulz; Norine Richardson; Jodi Milam; William & Laurie Moon; Pauline Jaeger; Dave Ballou; Lois Wiese, hospitalized this past week; Barbara Long; John Workentine, Schulz’s brother-in-law; Brandon Schulz with spinal injuries; Khendra Murdoch; Paul & Patsy Michelson with Covid; Kevin & Tom Jaster, Laurie Moon’s brother and nephew, also with Covid; Gary Sellin following surgery.
Holiday Events We invite you to remain after the service today for our pre-Christmas Brunch. On Friday, we celebrate the birth of Christ with a candlelight service at 6 pm, Peace’s service is at 9 pm. On Sunday we will have a song service at our regular time of 9 am. Then we invite you to enter the New Year in worship on Friday, December 31, at 7 pm with a communion service. God bless your holiday season. If you are travelling at this time, Lord grant you safe journey.
Offering Envelopes for 2022 have arrived and are in your mailboxes or the fellowship hall. Please pick up your new set of offering envelopes before leaving today.
No Face Mask Regulations Facemasks are not required in a church setting in Springfield. If you feel more comfortable wearing a face mask, you may certainly do so. Masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer are in the narthex and the fellowship hall for your use.
Today: Pre-Christmas Brunch and Fellowship in the fellowship hall following the worship service
December 24, Christmas Eve Candlelight Services: At Zion 6 pm; at Peace, Marshfield, 9 pm
December 31, New Year’s Eve – 7 pm worship service with Holy Communion
The Week in Review
Sunday’s Worship: 27; Bible Class: 13; Midweek Bible Class: 3; Sunday Offering: $1,992.
Next Sunday’s Lessons: What Child Is This…?
Christmas 2 …Our Substitute and Sacrifice: Isaiah 50:4-9; Hebrews 2:10-18; Luke 2:41-52 (CW-21, 3-Year Series C)
Answers to Today’s Epistle Lesson Brief Study:
- The ritual offerings of the sacrifices could not do away with sin nor could they calm the guilty conscience. They did however help the nation of Israel realize the death sentences of sin as well as look forward to the promised substitute, the Messiah who would provide eternal forgiveness.
- Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross had to be done only once and it became effective for everyone. Because of it, we are considered holy in God’s sight and prepared for being transformed to be like Him.
This week I am praying for……