How to Prepare
“And in that region, there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.” Luke 2:8 and 9
Traditionally in the church year there are two times for reflection and preparation: Advent and Lent.
We tend to like Advent more because we are preparing for a miraculous birth, and we know that the
big celebration of Christmas will soon be here. During Lent we have to reflect on our sins, and we
must journey through Holy Week and the cross before we celebrate Easter. You don’t see companies putting out Lent calendars with little doors to open leading up to Easter Sunday, do you?
But how to prepare during Advent? If you are one of those families that have some of your Christmas presents under the tree early before Christmas Eve you may have that feeling of eager anticipation about which ones are for you. Or you may be able to remember that feeling. And indeed, looking into God’s word while opening those little doors on an Advent calendar is a good way to remember that “old, old story” of God becoming a human being and coming to save us. It’s good to reflect on the fact that at the time of Jesus’ birth not very many people were anticipating the coming of the Messiah. Mary and Joseph knew. Doubtless Mary’s parents knew, and her relative Elizabeth. But to most people it came as a complete shock. The shepherds in the passage above were scared out of their wits until the angel told them not to be afraid because he was bringing them good news. Some of the people they told probably kept their eyes on Jesus for awhile. But when Joseph took the family and ran off into Egypt they seem to have forgotten what the shepherds told them. The wise men went looking for Jesus in the wrong place. And we have no further word about them in the Bible after they returned to their own country. It wasn’t until John the Baptist came preaching that the Messiah was coming that people once again took notice. So how do we anticipate the coming of Jesus and avoid losing track of him between Advent and Easter? Martin Luther in teaching about Holy Communion said that prayer and fasting were
indeed fine bodily preparation for the sacrament. But he said that those were truly prepared who “believe the words ‘given and shed for you.’” It’s not enough to believe the historical fact that Jesus was born. During the season of Advent, we have the chance to reflect on the fact that he was born for us, to save us from our sins and open paradise to us. “Born to save children of earth. Born to give them second birth.” (Hark the Herald Angels Sing, LBW #60)
God bless you as you pray, reflect and hear God’s word, the Good News of Jesus your Savior, this Advent season.
Rev. Aaron Albrecht
December 2: Carolyn Proehl
9: Lori Loomis
16: Doug Proehl
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Apples 'n Cream Dessert Squares
1 package yellow cake mix (unprepared)½ cup flaked coconut
½ cup butter or margarine softened
2 - 21 oz. cans prepared apple pie filling
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
16 oz. sour cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 3 ingredients, blend until crumbly. Press into bottom of 9” x 13” pan and 1/2” up on sides. Spread fruit filling over base. Mix sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over filling. Blend sour cream and eggs; spoon evenly over filling. Bake 45 minutes or until cream and egg mixture is set.