Our December 6 Sunday Advent worship service is available on video through Facebook. You may view it without being a member of Facebook. All scheduled worship services from Thanksgiving through the end of the year will be online only with minimal in-person participation to reduce COVID risks.
The December 13 Sunday worship service and following Wednesday Advent service will be held without in-person attendance because of the rise in COVID cases in our state. It is scheduled to be streamed live on the DeSoto Redeemer Facebook page. We will post a direct link to the recording here as soon as it is possible after the service.
We are glad to share our worship with you. Click on “Contact Us” above to find out more about our faith family and what we believe.
Sermon December 6, St. Nicholas Day
Isaiah 40:1-11 | Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a | Mark 1:1-8
Preparing, getting ready, anticipating, they are all things which we really do and experience all of the time. There are signs around us that are specifically set up to get us ready for something which we are approaching.
How do you get ready for a trip? Well, you pack, usually the things that you know that you will need, and the things that you will probably need, and maybe some of the things that you may need. Ruth finally just made a list, and saved it on the computer, “Things to pack.” Then, someone to take care of the pets and plants (both need water for some reason). Maybe someone to check on the house, pick up the mail, or stop it at the Post Office. Check the car, change the oil, check the other fluids, check the tire pressure, and make sure it is up and running. All of these things are under the heading of preparation; things to do before you leave. And it is best to start before the morning that you are planning on leaving. Preparation is important. That is what we are doing during this Season of Advent. And, we have four weeks of Advent to prepare.
We are preparing. Christmas, the “celebration of Christ,” is coming. We know that from the signs that have arisen about us; lights, trees, gifts, appeals, and even the sound of carols on radio. Most of us now have greenery within our homes. At our house, we haven’t yet, thanks to Covid. But, it will give our cats something to play with when we are not home. There is the flashing of additional lights in and outside of our homes. We have begun considering what gifts to get for whom (some people are actually finished!). We are receiving cards and letters from friends and relatives, many of them informing us of their wellbeing and the important events of the last 12 months. Last night De Soto held their parade with the theme “Light Up De Soto,” and officially lit the Christmas tree outside of City Hall. They all tell us that what we expect is about to take place. Or do we know?
We are preparing for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. And, it is good and proper that we should celebrate that blessed event, the babe born in a stable and laid in a manger. We all know those parts. That is fine. But the lessons tell us to prepare for something else.
Isaiah gives us words of comfort. Luther considered these words the greatest declaration of gospel in the Bible, “Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.” Israel’s call of redemption from captivity, your penalty is paid. You will be restored and comforted. And it came.
John the Baptist comes as an Old Testament prophet. You were expecting Jesus? No. John comes first, and as a prophet and harbinger of Christ. He is even wearing the uniform of a prophet. That is one of the reasons why the people are going out to him. There hadn’t been a prophet in Israel for nearly 500 years. Now John appears, wearing the clothing and preaching. They went out to hear this new prophet. He calls the people to repent of their sins, to be washed in his baptism, and “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,” echoing the words of Isaiah’s prophecy. The Messiah, the Christ is coming get ready. The One even more powerful than John is coming. Indeed, he is already on the scene, and is about to emerge. “He comes to baptize not with just water, but with the Holy Spirit as well.” And he comes very, very soon. All must be gotten ready for his great self-disclosure.
These are all signs and prophecies of the coming Christ. But there is another message this week. Peter speaks of the end of the age, when all will be disclosed, and the old will pass away. It will come like a thief in the night. But it will come. We are to await and watch for the signs of that time, living lives of “holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God.” Peter writes, after the coming of Christ, after Christ’s coming on the scene. But Peter also writes looking to the fulfillment of all things. He tells us, “to wait, in accordance with his promises towards us, striving to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish, regarding the patience of God with us as itself a sign of our Lord’s salvation.” We wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home. For that is also our promised home from him, our final vindication. For the Advent of the Lord in glory is at hand. And it surely comes. And so, with Isaiah, and John, and Peter’s admonitions, prepare his way in your lives.