Worship Sunday at 10:30

Bethany Evangelical
Lutheran Church

Ishpeming, Michigan † Est. 1870

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Advent 12/23/2012

In church it’s not really Christmas until today, on this last Sunday of Advent, that Christmas as most of us think about it is clearly on the horizon.  Here at Bethany we do always get a little early Christmas from the Sunday School kids on the Third Sunday of Advent like we did last week, and most welcome it was last week; I think we all needed it.  In the lessons though, it’s really not until today that they get Christmas-y.  We’re done with John the Baptist, he’s had his say, and instead we hear from the prophet Micah about a ruler to come from Bethlehem and in the gospel Mary becomes a main character.  All of that means that Christmas is getting close.

The last part of today’s gospel, Mary’s Magnificat, is worth a quick mention as it presents the upside down world that Jesus brings into being with the powerful brought down from their thrones and the lowly lifted up.  There’s no need to say a lot about that today though, as it’s a theme that recurs throughout Luke.  There will be much more in the coming year about how Jesus upsets the expected order of things.  

It is appropriate though that part of today’s gospel is this song of Mary as music and song are the focus of worship today.  For quite a few years now, on the Fourth Sunday of Advent the choir has served as our bridge from Advent into Christmas.  As a member of the choir though I find it kind of interesting how this music that we perform today affects me. 

Music is a big part of this season for me as I wrote in my December newsletter article.  What’s interesting about this choir music though, is that for those of us in the choir it’s not just for Advent and Christmas.  We’ve been practicing some of it since September I think.  Now practice sometimes means repeating parts over and over and over again until Bob is satisfied that we’re making sufficient progress, but part of what happens, for me anyway, is with that repetition, the words really start to sink in and they’re words that carry the theological message of this season.  So throughout the fall these Advent and Christmas words and images are at work on us as we practice on Wednesday nights, especially the idea of Emmanuel, God with us, which is the theme of this season, a key theme of our faith.  For me anyway, these words and images become especially real.    

You all haven’t had these words working on you throughout the fall but today, listen to the words; pay attention to the words today and also in the familiar hymns and carols of tomorrow and throughout the days of Christmas; they’re powerful.  Music is an especially effective way to convey the message and the truth of this season.  So this morning it’s our pleasure to offer to you…Bethlehem, O Bethlehem, A celebration of Advent.   

Rev. Warren Geier


Bethany Lutheran Church
715 Mather Avenue
Ishpeming, MI 49849

Phone: 906-486-4351
Fax: 906-486-9640

Rev. Warren Geier, Pastor

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one such child in my name
welcomes me, and whoever
welcomes me welcomes
not me
but the
one who
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