12/18/2019 2:08:47 PM
First Things December 18, 2019
Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)
What causes you to rejoice? Is it when your sports team wins a close game, or wins big? Is it when your political candidate wins an important election? When the Lord blesses you with the birth of a healthy baby?
All of these are realistically potential prospects for rejoicing. Even if your team is the worst in the NFL, on any given day they can put together a victory. Though your political party may experience a resounding defeat in one election, when the victorious political party overreaches with their agenda, public opinion easily reverses, and yours may win a victory in the next election.
But what if you had been an Israelite in the days of Zechariah’s prophecy? Would rejoicing and triumph have been prospects you would have realistically expected? Israel had been defeated by mighty Babylon, and during Zechariah’s ministry, a remnant had been allowed to return to their homeland. But
Israel had no army; economically they were impoverished. What could possibly happen to give them cause for rejoicing? What triumph might they realistically achieve or experience?
Would we have been excited with Zechariah’s prophecy, were we an Israelite at the time? We are too easily drawn to celebrities and limousines, to politicians who sway crowds at large rallies. Would we thrill at the prospect of a prophesied figure who did not care about earthly power, influence, or fame? Who was focused on, of all things, humility?
While we properly rejoice at earthly blessings and thrill to the triumph of a sports victory, we know all too well that such things are uncertain and often transitory. A lopsided victory one week can be followed by a humbling shutout the next. The joy of pregnancy may end with the sorrow of miscarriage.
When we realize the things of this world that cause joy and triumph are uncertain and unreliable, we receive Zechariah’s words with hearts of hope and joy. And Zechariah’s prophecy speaks of the only thing that can win the biggest triumph of all, that can create a heart that will overflow with rejoicing: a king who will come in humility.
A king who will begin his reign as a little baby and, though tempted in all points even as we are, will not once succumb to sin. A king who does not object to riding into the capital city on a colt, who knows that he is being watched, plotted against, and will soon be arrested. A king who does not flinch at merciless flogging, shaming, and crucifixion by callous Roman soldiers. A king who is willing to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, and proves himself victorious by rising triumphantly on the third day.
Rejoice greatly! Your king comes to you, humble, righteous, and victorious!
This devotion was written by Professor David Bauer of Martin Luther College. This and other Advent devotions by MLC faculty members appear in Christ is the World’s Light.
Early Learning Center Christmas Program
The Early Learning Center’s Christmas Program will take place next Thursday, December 19 at 6:00 PM. Why not come and see what’s going on at your ELC, see what you can do, and meet some of the people we are helping?
There will be a “cookie social” after the program. We’re hoping for “donations” for First’s great bakers. They can be dropped the day of…or when you come to the program.
Other Upcoming Special Worship Services
Sunday School’s Christmas Program – 12/22 at 9:00 AM
Christmas Eve Worship – 12/24 at 6:30 PM
Christmas Day Worship – 12/25 at 9:00 AM
New Year’s Eve Worship with Communion – 12/31 at 6:30 PM
Invite A Friend To Christmas Worship
Why not invite a friend to come with you to our Christmas Eve worship? Christmas Eve has surpassed Easter as the worship service that unchurched individuals are most likely to attend. A recent survey found that 80% of unchurched adults would seriously consider accepting an invitation, extended by a friend, to attend a Christmas Eve service.
ELC Director Called
Amanda Ehrenberg of South Haven, Michigan has been called to be our new Early Learning Center Director. Please remember her in your prayers as she deliberates.
Weekday Worship Services Will Begin Again
Weekday worship services will begin on Mondays, beginning on Monday, January 6 in the new year. The worship services will begin at 6:30 PM.
Together: The WELS Bi-Weekly Newsletter
This newsletter is available in church on the orange half sheets. In this edition there is news about:
- The ongoing talks with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and
- WELS outreach in Vietnam.
You can also access it online at: https://cs.welsrc.net/
Links to Chapter-A-Day Reading Guides