PASTOR'S PAGE..................................DECEMBER 2019
Martin Luther is known for being many things: a reformer, theologian, pastor, hymn-writer, and much more. One Christmas hymn that Luther wrote is Hymn # 358 in our hymnal. It’s title is: From Heaven Above to Earth I Come. We will sing a portion of it on Christmas Day. The tune for the hymn is VON HIMMEL HOCH, a tune that may well have been written by Luther as well. Luther’s original title of the hymn was: A Nursery Rhyme on the Christmas Night of the Infant Jesus. The title that we use now is taken from the first line of the first stanza: From Heaven Above to Earth I Come, recounting the words of the angel to the shepherds in Luke 2:
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon 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.
As with Luther’s other hymns, From Heaven Above is rich in theology, yet simple to learn and memorize, without being simplistic. These qualities serve to point the singer and the hearer to the Christ-child, just as the angels pointed the shepherds to the manger that first Christmas.
Christ’s saving work in His incarnation are the heart and center of this beloved hymn. This is because Luther rightly understood that Christ’s birth is a joyful, central event in the Scriptures that continue to give us Good News of great joy. He once commented that if we want to find God, we should not look up into the heavens or attempt to search His majesty and wisdom, but we need only look down, draw our eyes to the manger, and Jesus’ birth for you. For there in the manger we see God revealed to us and for us, as one of us. He is weak and helpless, yet a mighty Savior from sin and death. He is true God and yet true man. He is an infant lowly yet the Holy One of Israel, the Word made flesh for us. Throughout this hymn, this Good News – Jesus’ birth to rescue us from sin and all evil – fills the hearts, minds and ears of those who sing its lyrics.
Stanzas 1-5 paraphrase the words of the angel to the Shepherds, placing us alongside the Shepherds that first Christmas. Stanzas 6-14 resound with a chorus of praise, thanks, and joy at Christ’s birth as we join the shepherds in beholding the mystery of Christ’s birth. Stanza 15 concludes this hymn by joining our voices with that of the angels in the song that first announced Jesus’ birth: Glory to God in highest heav’n!
At Christmas, and every Divine Service, we join the angels in singing this ancient hymn. We sing it with great joy, as they did, only greater, for now Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again. The angels sang the Gloria at Jesus’ birth, when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Now we join them in singing the Gloria as the Word remains flesh, and gives us His flesh and blood to eat and drink in Holy Communion. When you think about it that way, every Lord’s Supper is a little Christmas.
This Advent and Christmas season I pray that you spend time singing, meditating, and rejoicing in the words of comfort and promise found in Luther’s Christmas hymn From Heaven Above to Earth I Come. For just as the angels pointed the shepherds to Christ’s saving birth, so too, this gorgeous hymn points us to Christ our Savior.
A Blessed Advent and Christmas Season to you all.
ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS SERVICES
Advent I Worship: December 4, 2019 – 7:30 p.m. - “Wonder of a Counselor”
Advent II Worship: December 11, 2019 – 7:30 p.m. - “The Mighty God/The Everlasting Father”
Advent III Worship: December 18, 2019 – 7:30 p.m. - “The Prince of Peace”
Christmas Eve Worship: December 24, 2019 – 6:00 p.m. - “Service of Lessons and Carols”
Christmas Day Worship w/Holy Communion: December 25, 2019 – 9:15 a.m.-
New Year's Eve Worship w/Holy Communion: December 31, 2109 - 7:00 p.m.
Church Offering Income for the Month of October: $8,791.82
Registered Visitors at First Trinity for September/October 2019
(Visitors who filled out cards.)
Oct 27 Norbert Meyer – Beatrice, NE; Mark Wollenburg – Milford, IA
Nov 4 Cassi Bose – Orleans, NE; Maggie Bose – Oxford, NE; Lyle Osborn – Lenexa, KS; Norbert Meyer – Beatrice, NE; Wayne/Vivian Zimmerman – Beatrice, NE; Steve/Marcia Ramey – Kansas City, MO; Brandon – friend of the Spilker Family
Nov 10 Linda Ruff – Waverly, NE; Norbert Meyer – Beatrice, NE
Nov 17 Dianna & Adam Bannister – Omaha, NE; Lyle Osborn – Lenexa, KS; Norbert Meyer – Beatrice, NE
THOSE CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS IN THE MONTH OF DECEMBER
Tom Brandt 1 Braelyn Johnson 15
Dana Schleufer 1 Kellie Eyer 19
Gerald Pohlmann 2 Joshua Malchow 19
Lee Beethe 3 Russell Behrends 23
Jeffrey Kettelhut 3 Kyle Spilker 27
Eric Eyer* 11 Daniel Bennett 27
Arthur Morris 11 Brooke Koch 28
Crystal Jordening 12 Aaron Zimmerman 30
THOSE CELEBRATING BAPTISMAL BIRTHDAYS IN THE MONTH OF DECEMBER
LaVern Niemeier 4 Braelyn Johnson 21
David Niemeier 5 Gerald Pohlmann 22
Jack Spilker 14 Myron Belding 23
Katie Genrich 18 John Niemeier 25
Tom Brandt 20 Lee Beethe 28
Ana Kettelhut 20
THOSE CELEBRATING ANNIVERSARIES IN THE MONTH OF DECEMBER
James/Kim Franzen 4
Jeffrey/Renee Kettelhut 5
Brent/Jane Niemeier 11
Harlan*/Tami Schmidt 21
Kevin*/Tessie* Smith 21
Frank*/Toni Lisec 27
*If your birthday, baptismal birthday, or anniversary date is missing from our lists, please contact the church office so we can include it next year.
First Trinity Lutheran Church Council Meeting Minutes - November 12, 2019
The meeting was called to order by Elder Dan Bennett at 7:34 pm. Pastor Wagner gave an opening devotion with a reading from Matthew, Chapter 22. The minutes of the October council meeting were approved as presented. Russell Behrends presented the Financial Secretary's report. The Treasurer's report was presented by Ron Malchow. Income received from Financial Secretary for October was $8,791.82, expenses $11,254.83, with an ending balance of $31,923.21. Motion was made to accept financial reports by Dean Damme. Seconded by Walter Neumann. Motion carried. (see reports)
Elders’ Report – Allen Pfingsten
· Next month’s meeting will be December 10, 2019, with the Elders meeting at 6:30 P.M. and Council at 7:30 P.M.
· Elders have been discussing uses for Memorial money such as audio/visual broadcasting equipment for school building. Will discuss in new business.
Pastor’s Report – Pastor Timothy Wagner
· Thanksgiving Eve Service will be November 27, at 7:30 P.M. with Holy Communion.
· Advent services will be December 4, 11 and 18 at 7:30 P.M.
· Christmas Eve Service will be December 24, at 6:00 P.M.
· Christmas Day Service will be December 25, at 9:15 A.M.
· New Year’s Eve Service will be December 31, at 7:00 P.M.
Trustee’s Report – Not present, no report.
Stewardship / Board of Education – Not present, no report.
Sunday School Superintendent - Not present, no report.
Cemetery Sexton – Walt Neumann
· There is a new badger hole in cemetery.
· 2019 CD interest is $1,560.00, not quite enough to cover 2019 mowing expenses.
· Walter will be ending his service as Cemetery Sexton at the end of this year. Someone needs to step up to fill the duties as Cemetery Sexton.
· Report by Kyle Spilker on TV that was bought for Fellowship Hall.
· Discussion was held on a proposal from Diode Communications for $2,027.71 to install speakers and audio/visual distribution equipment for the conference room and east classroom. Elders will consider using memorial money for this and buying two more TV’s.
Motion to adjourn by Allen Pfingsten. Seconded by Ron Malchow.
Motion carried. Meeting was closed with the Lord’s Prayer at 8:35 P.M.
Members present include: Pastor Wagner, Dan Bennett, Dean Damme, Ron Malchow, Walter Neumann, Russ Behrends, Allen Pfingsten and Kyle Spilker.
Submitted by Secretary Kyle Spilker.