Sermons

December 2021

Believe the Christmas Story

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The First Sunday After Christmas - Sunday, December 26, 2021

Text: Luke 2:41-52

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I’d guess that over the last couple weeks at some point, you’ve probably heard the Christmas carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Maybe more than once. So, where are we in that carol right now? I think if you count it out, today would be the second day of Christmas. So, what are the presents? I think it’s two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree. Kind of odd gifts for the 21st century, but my question for you is this. Does today feel like the second day of Christmas with ten more days of celebrations to go…or does it kind of seem like Christmas is over? The gifts have been opened, the special worship services have already happened, relatives who live locally may have already gone home. Perhaps there are some Christmas gatherings coming yet this afternoon or in the upcoming week, but after that? After Christmas sales will start tomorrow, and you could probably even take down your tree and decorations in the next couple of days and people wouldn’t be surprised – you’re just making use of the vacation time. But according to the Christmas carol…it’s only the second day of Christmas, and even though “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is a secular Christmas carol, the message it hints at is worth remembering – Christmas isn’t just one day. Christmas isn’t even just twelve days, for that matter, as it used to be celebrated in years past when that carol was written. If you Believe the Christmas Story and the promises attached to it, then you know that Christmas stands in the background of every day – even the “regular” days of ordinary life.



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An Apodosis for Christmas

Pastor Eric Schroeder - Christmas Day - Saturday, December 25, 2021

Text: Romans 8:31-32

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What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? It’s likely that by now you have at least some idea of whether everyone got the gifts they were hoping for. It’s always helpful to have a list of ideas when you’re Christmas shopping, at least as a starting point for any of us who want to give the kind of gifts that family members will appreciate, and enjoy, and actually use rather than something they already have or something that will stay in the box forever. But sometimes the best gifts are the ones that nobody asked for. Maybe they wanted something but thought it was too expensive and didn’t want to put that burden on anyone else. Or it could be that rare case where you think of a better gift for someone than they ever thought of putting on a list. It might even be that the gift we give is something they didn’t even know existed, but it is going to change their life forever….at least that’s what we hope for.



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Rags to Riches

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Fourth Sunday in Advent - Sunday, December 19, 2021

Text: Hebrews 10:5-10

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In the mid-1960s, a girl was born in England. Her parents named her Joanne. By many measures, Joanne was born in ordinary circumstances. Her father was an engineer at a factory and her mother worked for a school science department. Her childhood was relatively unremarkable, but things were challenging in her teen aged years. Her mother was diagnosed with a serious illness, and she became estranged from her father. Adulthood didn’t get any easier. A troubled marriage ended in divorce, and Joanne was left to raise her daughter alone. She struggled with mental health issues of her own, bounced around from job to job, even trying to write a novel but being rejected by a dozen different publishers. She stayed afloat due to various government programs, and was in her own words, “poor as it is possible to be…without being homeless.” Finally, one publisher agreed to publish a limited print run of 1000 copies, and the tide started to turn. Fifteen years later, J.K. Rowling was a multi-millionaire as the author of the wildly popular Harry Potter book series. Her story is a true rags to riches story – from the humblest of beginnings to tremendous wealth and fame.



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The Savior Comes: To the Waiting

Pastor Eric Schroeder - Midweek Advent 3 - Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Text: Luke 1:26-45

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Among all the participants in the Christmas story, other than Jesus himself, no one is more involved than Mary. Everyone else in the Gospel accounts comes in later or leaves the scene earlier than Mary; many come and go along the way. Mary, however, would be close by the whole time. Today’s Gospel reading from Luke chapter 1 introduces us to this young woman, who will forever be known as the mother of our Lord.



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What to Give Up for Advent

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Third Sunday in Advent - Sunday, December 12, 2021

Text: Philippians 4:4-7

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Dear Friends in Christ, Embedded within this text is a short four-word sentence that summarizes the entire message of Advent. This is it: “the Lord is near.” That statement is kind of like the sun in Paul’s inspired thinking, with everything else he says revolving around it.



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Advent Reminders

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Second Sunday in Advent - Sunday, December 5, 2021

Text: Philippians 1:3-11

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Dear Friends in Christ, Today clearly belongs to John the Baptist. Two of our three readings reference him (Old Testament and Gospel). Next week’s Gospel reading will also revolve around his work. The announcement of his birth was the subject of our first midweek Advent service this past Wednesday. And he’s mentioned a number of times in our hymns for today.



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The Savior Comes: To the Doubting

Pastor Joel Leyrer - Midweek Advent 1 - Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Text: Luke 1:5-25

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Dear Friends in Christ, In each of our three midweek Advent services this year we will consider a person whose life was intertwined with the birth of Jesus Christ. By taking a closer look at who they are and the part they played in the overall Christmas story as they waited for it to unfold, it will be our goal to learn from them and through them.



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