Worship Helps for Christmas 1

Artwork: Jesus among the Doctors in the Temple
Artist: Paolo Veronese

Worship Theme: The readings today give us a window into our salvation and eternal glory, via the boyhood years of Jesus.  The early life of Samuel has some interesting parallels to that of Jesus. In Hebrews Jesus willingly becomes one of us, and calls us “brothers.” Look in wonder at Jesus, the almighty God, going through early, learning years just as we all do.

Old Testament: 1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26 But Samuel was ministering before the LORD-- a boy wearing a linen ephod. 19 Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. 20 Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, "May the LORD give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the LORD." Then they would go home. … 26 And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the LORD and with men.

1. What was the yearly present Samuel’s mother would give him?

2. How are Samuel’s childhood years described (v.20)?

Epistle: Hebrews 2:10 In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. 12 He says, "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises." 13 And again, "I will put my trust in him." And again he says, "Here am I, and the children God has given me." 14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-- that is, the devil-- 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

3. What is Jesus not ashamed to call us?

4. Why did he have to become human like us?

5. What comfort do we get in everyday life from the fact that he faced the same things we do?

Gospel: Luke 2:41 Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. 43 After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you." 49 "Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them. 51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

6. What was Jesus’ priority and desire as a 12-year-old child?

7. What phrase does Luke use that you already heard in 1 Samuel 2?


Answers:
1. Each year Samuel’s mother gave him a robe (linen ephod) she made herself. Compare her thoughtfulness to the care put into some Christmas presents. She was thrilled to see Samuel serve in the temple. The influence of a godly mother blessed Samuel.

2. Samuel grew in height, and the LORD and people were very pleased with him—the result of training him up in the way he should go.

3. Jesus is not ashamed to call us his brothers—part of the same eternal family. What a miracle of grace that God in the flesh could feel so close to us… and we to him!

4. In order to take up our battle against sin, death and the devil, Jesus had to be like us.  Jesus had to win, too. His perfect human life all the way to the cross, even in boyhood, he lived as one of us. That way God could substitute his perfect human life and atoning death in place of ours.

5. We have great comfort knowing that Jesus experienced what we go through. He faced daily struggles and temptations like ours.  He can relate to our fears and challenges. He can help us, because the temptations he faced never took him down.

6. Unlike many 12 year-old boys, Jesus eagerly wanted to learn and discuss Scriptural truths. The Jewish teachers were amazed at the depth of Jesus’ understanding. We are amazed to see Jesus making us saints in God’s sight as he obeyed God’s 3rd commandment perfectly.

7. Jesus grew “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men”. This is the only section in the Bible that gives us insight to Jesus’ growing years. What a thrill it must have been to be around Jesus; on the other hand, how meekly and quietly he walked before God and people.


Putting your faith into action
Christmas means we don’t have to wonder who God is, what he says, or what he does. Because of Christmas we have God in human flesh. We belong to him and he belongs to us. Jesus is the greatest gift God could give us. What will you do with that gift?


A reading from the Book of Concord for the First Sunday after Christmas
The use of the Sacrament, in which faith enlivens terrified hearts, is a service of the New Testament.  That is because the New Testament requires spiritual inclinations, making dead and alive.  Christ instituted the Sacrament for this use, since He commanded the disciples to do this in remembrance of Him.  Remembering Christ is not the use-less celebration of a show.  It is not something set up for the sake of example.  Rather, it is remembering Christ’s benefits and receiving them through faith, to be enlivened by them.  So Psalm 111:4–5 says, “He has caused His wondrous works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and merciful.  He provides food for those who fear Him.”  The Sacrament illustrates that God’s will and mercy should be discerned in the ceremony.  Faith that grasps mercy enlivens.  This is the chief use of the Sacrament.  It is clear who are fit for the Sacrament (terrified consciences) and how they use it.

The sacrifice also is added.  For there are several reasons with one purpose.  After a conscience encouraged through faith has determined from what terrors it is freed, it fervently gives thanks for Christ’s benefit and passion.  It also uses the ceremony itself to God’s praise, to show its gratitude by this obedience.  It declares that it holds God’s gifts in high esteem.  So the ceremony becomes a sacrifice of praise. – Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Articles XXIV, The Mass (paragraphs 71-74)

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