Once again, the beautiful and meaningful season of Advent is upon us and our theme this year comes from Charles Wesley’s (1707-1788) great hymn, “Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending” (LSB 336). The great text uses events of the past to remind us who we are in our faith, to set a vision of what the future holds, and to state who our God is.
Although the historical record is not completely verified, it appears that our Advent observance arose out of a season of fasting to prepare for baptisms at Epiphany. By the sixth century, an eschatological (or end times) emphasis was present. The liturgical season comprises the four Sundays before Christmas. Each year, the first Sunday contains the theme of readiness for divine judgment, the second Sunday the ministry of John the Baptist, the third Sunday the Baptist’s call to a repentant life, and only on the fourth Sunday a narrative concerning the birth of Jesus. God comes, in the past in the history of Israel and the incarnation of Jesus, in the present in the Word and sacrament of each Sunday, and in the future at the end of all things. The lectionary appoints readings to fit this pattern, and its tone stands in stark contrast to our society’s weeks of preparation for Christmas.
This year, we have commissioned Susan Hovel (wife of Trinity Pastor Emeritus Lee Hovel) to create five paintings that emulate the themes found in our Isaiah readings. The first of these paintings will be on display starting Advent 1 at both campuses and each subsequent painting will be added week by week until the full display is revealed on Christmas Eve. We are also providing cards where you can write down a response to each of the paintings and attach them to the display.
Our theme hymn helps our worshiping community create a sense of excitement and urgency this Advent season. This drives us toward the hoped-for day when we sing “Yea, Amen! Let all adore thee, high on thy eternal throne; Savior, take the power and glory, claim the kingdom for thine own. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Everlasting God, come down!”
Advent 1Lo, He Comes with Justice and Peace
Advent 2Lo, He Comes to Make All Things Right for All People
1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
9 They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.
Advent 3 - The Joyful SundayLo, He Comes with Joy and Singing
1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
2 it shall blossom abundantly
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.
3 Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
4 Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
7 the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
8 And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.[a]
9 No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.
10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Advent 4Lo, He Comes as "Immanuel", God with Us
10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: 11 “Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” 12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” 13 And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15 He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16 For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted. 17 The Lord will bring upon you and upon your people and upon your father’s house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah—the king of Assyria!”
Christmas EveLo, He Comes as the "Great Light" in the "Deep Darkness"
2 The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
3 You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
4 For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”
Christmas Eve Worship Schedule
Christmas Eve Worship with Children, Youth, and Families
4pm | Mission Campus
This family-friendly service features traditional Christmas carols, candles, and a special children’s message, as well as a sermon.
Christmas Eve Lessons and Carols
6pm | Mission Campus
This annual celebration on Christmas Eve is designed for people who are looking for a traditional Lessons and Carols service. Music is provided by the Trinity Choir and Festival Brass with Christmas carols and hymns sung by the congregation. No sermon is typically given.
Christmas Eve by Candlelight with Communion
9:30pm | Mission Campus
The Trinity Chamber Artists offer special music with additional congregational hymns and carols in this festival service. A sermon, candles, and Holy Communion are included.
Christmas Eve Worship with Children, Youth, and Families
4 and 6pm | Shawnee Campus
This Christmas Eve Worship is designed to include families, children, special music, communion, and candles.