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- Luke 2:1-14
“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrene’s was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, (because he was of the house and lineage of David) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came unto them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, “Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
May the blessings of Peace, Love, Hope and Joy be with you and your loved ones this Christmas.
Smyrna Lutheran Christmas Eve service 7 p.m. 3815 S. 550 E., Greensburg, In 47240
- Silent Night, Holy Night
Of all the Christmas carols, this may be the most beloved of the ages and most sung as the candles are lit and their flickering light fills sanctuaries large and small at Christmas Eve services.
Known world-wide, this origin of Silent Night is much a miracle in itself.
The scene began at St. Nicholas Church, Obendorf, Austria on Christmas Eve, 1818. Preparing for that evening’s special service Fr Joseph Mohr found the church organ broken – but it was Christmas Eve! The parishioners were coming! So Fr Mohr, referencing the scripture message from Luke 2: 1-20, penned the words to Silent Night . And his friend Franz Gruber composed a guitar melody for it. As they say, “the rest is history” as now, over 200 years later we still sing Silent Night – world-wide!
Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright
‘Round yon virgin Mother and Child.
Holy infant so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace.
Silent night, holy night, shepherds quake at the sight!
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing Al-le-lu-ia!
Christ the Savior is born! Christ the Savior is born.
Silent night, holy night, Son of God, oh Love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace.
Jesus, Lord at thy birth. Jesus, Lord at thy birth.
- Mary Did You Know?
“But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” Luke 2:19
Much had taken place in young Mary’s life. Miracles abounded as angels and stars, mystery and wonder surrounded this incredible event in her life. What ‘things’ do you think Mary “kept…and pondered”?
Mary, did you know…that your Baby Boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know…that your Baby Boy will save our sons and daughter?
Did you know…that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.
Mary did you know…that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know… that your Baby Boy will calm a storm with His hand?
Did you know…that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little Baby, you’ve kissed the face of God.
The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the Praises of the Lamb.
Mary did you know… that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know…that your Baby Boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know…that your Baby Boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding, Is the Great I AM!
This song is not centuries old, as so many of our Christmas carols, this was written by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene, and recorded by Michael English in 1991. Since that time it has become a Christmas classic. Every time I hear it, I feel great awe and wonder, and gratefulness in my heart.
Remember, that Christmas is no small matter. It’s about the most special baby ever born. When you hear this Christmas song, may its words cause you to stand in awe of the Christmas miracle, the birth of our Lord, the incarnation of God in human form–the One who was born to die so that man might live!
- What Child is This
What child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
How many of us, seeing a young baby peaceful and asleep, pause to wonder ‘what child this is’? What will this child’s eyes see, what joys and pains will this child experience in their life?
Unlike Jesus, we were all born slaves to sin. No matter how exceptional we are in life, we cannot escape our condition at birth. We must have a Savior, we cannot save ourselves.
As followers of Christ, we are accepted into his Father’s house, adopted into his royal birthright.
God filled the sky with singing angels the night of his Son’s birth. And through his Son, God loves us with the same passion.
What child is this who lay to rest on Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, while shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King. Whom Shepherds guard and angels sing.
Haste, haste to bring Him laud, the Babe, the Son of Mary.
Why lies he in such mean estate, where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian fear for sinners hear, the silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce him though, the cross he borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh, the Babe, the Son of Mary.
So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh, come peasant, king to own him;
The King of Kings salvation brings, let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high, the Virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, Joy for Christ is born. The Babe, the Son of Mary.
- From St. Paul Smyrna Lutheran Church, our Christmas carol for today is: “Angels from the Realms of Glory” composed by English Christian hymn writer James Montgomery on Christmas Eve, 1816. The detailed story of Jesus’ birth we read in the Gospel of Luke surely inspired John Montgomery. In his hymn we sign about angels, shepherds, Messiah’s birth, and “the infant light” – “the natal star”. That light, that star was the “Bethlehem Star”! The Bethlehem Star! Have you heard the news? What some are calling the return of the “Bethlehem Star” – the alignment of planets Saturn and Jupiter will happen on Monday, December 21st. This phenomenon has not been seen for 800 years. Remember the guiding star that brought wise men to Baby Jesus? It may have happened just like this.Jesus, Lord and Orchestrator of ALL Creation, YOU ARE AMAZING! We Praise You. AmenAngels from the Realms of Glory – composed by James Montgomery, 1816.1 Angels from the realms of glory, wing your flight o’er all the earth; ye who sang creation’s story now proclaim Messiah’s birth:
Refrain: Come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ, the newborn king.
2) Shepherds, in the field abiding, watching o’er your flocks by night, God with us is now residing; yonder shines the infant light: (Refrain)
3) Sages, leave your contemplations, brighter visions beam afar; seek the great Desire of nations, ye have seen his natal star: (Refrain)
- Good Morning from St Paul Smyrna Lutheran Church. Today our Christmas carol is that sweet hymn. ”Away in a Manger”.
Written by Martin Luther in the early 1500’s, this song was first a children’s lullaby, we can imagine Martin Luther singing it to his own children. “Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head. The stars in the sky looked down where he lay, the little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.” We picture in our mind this humble scene. We can love and relate to Baby Jesus, like we love our own babies. But God’s love to us is immensely greater. In God’s plan, this Baby would grow up to be the Savior that gives us eternal life. Perhaps that’s why Jesus came as a baby, in a barn, with shepherds being the first visitors. It was simple, by our standards, BUT God doesn’t always act according to our expectations, yet He ALWAYS KNOWS the best way.
Dear Heavenly Father. Open our hearts to accept this wonderful love you gave us, beginning as a Baby in a manger. Amen
- Today’s Christmas Carol from St. Paul Lutheran – Smyrna is, “O Holy Night.” This is classic, favorite was written in 1843, by a French poet and wine merchant. Now almost 180 year later; it still remains a beloved hymn and well-known melody, often played or sung on Christmas Eve.
Today our focus is on the 3 rd verse which references the Bible verses of Luke 6:32-35. Here are the words, still SO relevant to our world today.
Verse 3 “O Holy Night”
Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His Gospel is Peace
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His Holy name
Christ is the Lord, O Praise His name forever
His power and glory evermore proclaim
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
Dear Holy Father, May our world find peace in You. Amen
Smyrna Lutheran invites you to worship on Sunday mornings at 9. If you’re not able to attend in person, you’re invited to listen to “In the Spirit” on WRBI, airing each Sunday morning at 9:30.
- St Paul Lutheran Church – Smyrna sharing today’s Christmas Carol, “I Saw Three Ships”.
As a child, I loved this carol’s catchy tune, lots of repetition and easy to sing along, but I admit, in my childhood imagination the three ships looked more like the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria of Christopher Columbus than any Christmas scene. “Three ships” is interesting phraseology from this 17th century carol.
Let’s unwind the mystery:
Matthew 2:1-2 (NKJV) “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” Enter the camels, and as we like to tell the story, Three Kings who come to worship baby Jesus. Camels were the primary mode of long-distance transportation. CAMELS – a.k.a “ships of the desert”. Ahhh, now we understand. Enjoy all the lyrics of this joyful rendition of Jesus’ birth and the 3 kings (on camels).
Smyrna Advent messages are a collection of devotions contributed from members of St. Paul Lutheran, Smyrna and are funded in part through Thrivent Financial.
- St. Paul Lutheran Smyrna bringing you today’s Christmas Carol, “O Little Town of Bethlehem”.
Micah 5:2 [NLT] But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.
This Old Testament prophesy tells us that out of Bethlehem will come he who will rule the nation of Israel, indeed he who will rule eternity. It all sounds so …prophetic! Yet in Jesus’ birth the tiniest detail was fulfilled.
In our carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem it’s easy to imagine a scene of peace and tranquility, but in truth, Jesus was born into a VERY messy world. We live in a VERY MESSY world. Let’s be honest, our own lives can be VERY messy. But God who knows the tiniest detail of our life, loves us still. “Oh come to us, abide with us, our Lord Immanuel.” Amen
Smyrna’s Advent messages are shared by various members of Smyrna Lutheran and are funded in part through Thrivent Financial.
- Today’s Christmas carol from St. Paul Lutheran Smyrna is, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”.
18th Century hymn writer Charles Wesley truly out did himself with this hymn – it is the story of our Savior in a ‘nutshell’. Glorious, boisterous, joyfully telling all who hear this carol to harken to the news. “Joyful all you nations rise; join the triumph of the skies; with angelic hosts proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”…Glory to the newborn King”
While there are many verses in the Bible that prophesy and record the fulfillment of God’s promise to send us his Son, Jesus, in the Gospel of Luke 2:14 we read about the angels rejoicing at this epic gift, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Have you felt the Spirit of God, His forgiveness, freedom, and grace when you hear or sing this carol? “…born that we no more may die, born to raise each child of earth, born to give us second birth”
Find the whole text of this carol; sing it today. Praise God along with the angels in this gift of love given to you and me.
Lord Jesus, our King, may we embrace this joy in our heart today! Amen
Advent messages from Smyrna are funded in part through Thrivent Financial.
- Good morning from St. Paul Smyrna Lutheran Church.
The Advent Christmas Carol selected for today is: O Come All Ye Faithful.
Shepherds were out in the fields watching their sheep at night when angels appeared to them and told them the great news about the birth of a savior who is “Christ of Lord.” Seeing this glorious sight and hearing the great new, the shepherds were joyful and hurried to Bethlehem to find the baby and adore him. Mary had wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. The birth of this child brings great blessings to all sinners, he forgives our sins and provides us with eternal life. So joyfully and triumphantly come and adore him!
Prayer: As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, who forgives us our sins, and provides us with eternal life let us not forget to “Come and adore him!”
Advent devotions for St. Paul Smyrna Lutheran Church are funded in part through Thrivent Financial.
- Good morning from St. Paul Smyrna Lutheran Church.
The Advent Christmas carol selected for today is “Go tell it on the Mountain”. The words in this joyful song tell us to go to the mountains, over the hills and everywhere and spread the word that Jesus Christ is born! In Matthew 28: 18 – 20, Jesus tells his disciples to GO and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe the commandments and He (Jesus) will be with them always to the end of the age.
During this Advent season Go tell everyone about the birth and life of Jesus.
Prayer: Our heavenly Father, help us to Go and Tell everyone the true meaning of Christmas. Amen
Advent devotions for St. Paul Smyrna Lutheran Church are funded in part through Thrivent Financial.
- Wednesday, Dec 2, 2020 – Today’s Advent Christmas Carol from St. Paul Lutheran Church Smyrna is “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”.Originally sung as a monastic chant, this hymn’s history dates back over 1200 years. The more familiar modern melody was written in 1851. Scripture reference is Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel” (Which means: God with us.)This hymn reminds us of the connection between Old Testament prophesy and its fulfillment in the New Testament. It’s amazing that we still sing a hymn from over 1200 years ago. Its message is timeless, just as our Savior Emmanuel, Jesus – God with us.Treat yourself with a blessing today, take a moment to listen to this favorite hymn: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” as you prepare your heart for Christmas.Smyrna Advent messages are funded in part through Thrivent Financial. We encourage you to follow us through this Advent (pre-Christmas) season on WRBI radio, the WRBI website, and through the Smyrna Lutheran website: www.stpaulsmyrna.org.
- Today our Advent hymn from St. Paul Lutheran Church – Smyrna is “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” – written by that most prolific hymn writer of the 1700’s – Charles Wesley, who wrote over 6500 hymns! This short hymn tells the Christmas story so well:
“Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.
Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne.”
This hymn based on Isaiah 61:1-2 AND Luke 4:18 speaks confidently about an expected deliverance. Our lives have become so NOT NORMAL- we crave deliverance from our crazy COVID world. Yet as much as we want deliverance, what we need even more in our lives is “the Deliver-er” JESUS!
Dear Jesus, Come! Be with us, in our hearts and minds today. Amen
Smyrna Advent messages are funded in part through Thrivent Financial.