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First Sunday After Christmas - "The Fullness of Time" by Pastor Josh


26 December 2021


As shepherds and wise men found welcome in a stable, find welcome in this place, you who have come to worship The Christ. He is no less here than in a manger, more here than in a stable. There he was a “little Baby-thing.” Here you stand in the presence of The Son of God by faith. Come then to offer your Lord and King the gift of yourself. Guests and visitors, please honor us by signing our Guest Book in the entrance hall of the church as you leave. If you have no church home of your own in the area, we invite you to make Grace Lutheran Church the center of your worship, learning, fellowship, and service. The fellowship of this morning continues with a Coffee Hour and refreshments following worship. Do join us and let us become better acquainted with you as you get to know us better. Come to worship with us again and often!

As We Gather

Are you prepared for heaven? Admittedly, this is an odd question when we are celebrating Jesus’ birth. Yet, Jesus was born to die to save His people from their sins. As Simeon held the Christ Child, he couldn’t help but say, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word,” while also telling Mary, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed.” That opposition eventually brought about His death on a cross. Yet, Jesus was born to die and rise to life again so that all who believe in Him might live! That is the best Christmas gift ever.


O God, as you make us glad by the yearly festival of the birth of your only Son, grant that we who joyfully receive him as our Redeemer, may with sure confidence behold him when he comes to be our Judge; we ask this in the Name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.




PRELUDE          Jesus Shall Reign — by Lloyd Larson

Tatsiana Asheichyk (piano)

SONG Angels from the Realms of Glory LSB 367


In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.


The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.

The glory of the Lord has shone upon us, in the face of Jesus Christ.

Let us then confess our sins to God our Father and in the presence

of one another.

                                      + A Brief Silence for Reflection +

Most merciful God, we do not deserve to be called your children, for we have

disobeyed. In our thinking, our speaking, and our doing—we have sinned

against you. We deserve your wrath and punishment.

The glory of the Lord has shone upon us, in the face of Jesus Christ.

   It is in the Name of Jesus that we come before you heavenly Father, pleading

the merits of his holy life, his innocent suffering and death.

The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation. Christ Jesus gave himself for

us to redeem us from all iniquity. All who receive him, who believe in this Name,

are given power to become children of God.

        Glory to God in the highest!

And peace to God’s people on earth. Amen.


The congregation is encouraged to share the peace of Christ and greet one another with the words: “The Lord’s peace be with you.” The response: “And also with you.”


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

HYMN of PRAISE Hark! The Herald Angels Sing LSB 380


O God, our Maker and Redeemer, you wonderfully created us and in

the Incarnation of your Son yet more wondrously restored our human

nature. Grant that we may ever be alive in him who made himself to be

like us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

FIRST LESSON Isaiah 61:10-62:3

[To the people who returned to Jerusalem after the exile, the prophet proclaims that God’s salvation will fully come to pass. Jerusalem will become a shining light to the nations and righteousness and praise will spring up as surely as the earth puts forth vegetation.]

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to sprout up before all the nations.

For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem's sake I will not be quiet,
until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
and her salvation as a burning torch.
The nations shall see your righteousness,
and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

SECOND LESSON Galatians 4:4-7

[Paul seeks to show the Galatians that the purpose of Christ’s birth was to liberate us from the law’s condemnation so that we would be fully adopted into God’s family as beloved children.]

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

SPECIAL MUSIC Christmas Lullaby — John Turner

Tatsiana Asheichyk (Piano)

GOSPEL Luke 2:22-40

[Luke’s narrative continues with stories that emphasize Jesus’ connection to Judaism. His family is devout in its observation of the law, and Jesus himself is recognized as the one who will bring glory to Israel.]

And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,

according to your word;

for my eyes have seen your salvation

that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,

a light for revelation to the Gentiles,

and for glory to your people Israel.”

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.

The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to You, O Christ!

SONG Now Sing We, Now Rejoice LSB 386

HOMILY The Fullness of Time Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:22-40 (Listen to audio recording)

APOSTOLIC CREED                                            

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died and was buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day He rose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven

and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

The holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life + everlasting. Amen.


The Offerings Are Brought Forward


Gracious God, we bring before you a portion of what you first gave us and

with these gifts our very lives. Teach us patience and hope as we care for

all those in need until the coming of your Son, our Savior and Lord. Amen.



The Lord be with you.

        And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

        We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

        It is right to give Him thanks and praise.


Thank You, Lord of all creation, for this gift of our Lord’s Supper, by which You

forgive us our sins and strengthen our faith throughout all our days until you bring us

at last to our heavenly home.

        We thank You. We praise You. We adore You. Amen.


Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: “Take, eat; this is My + body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.”

In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying: “Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My + blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”


As often as we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death until

He comes.

        Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

O Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, in giving us Your body and blood to eat

and to drink, You lead us to remember and confess Your holy cross and passion,

Your blessed death, Your rest in the tomb, Your resurrection from the dead, Your

ascension into heaven, and Your coming for the final judgment. So remember us in

Your kingdom and teach us to pray:


Our Father who art in heaven;

hallowed be Thy Name,

Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;

and forgive us our trespasses

as we forgive those

who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil;

For thine is the kingdom

and the power and the glory

forever and ever. Amen.


SONG Nunc Dimittis LSB p. 199

STUDY OPPORTUNITIES at Grace: The Tuesday morning Women’s Study will resume Tuesday, January 11th at 10:00 am in the Fireside Room. Ashland/Phoenix Small Group study meets bi-monthly at 2:00 pm on the first and third Wednesdays. Next NewMen’s Coffee Study is scheduled for Saturday morning, January 8th, beginning at 8:30 am. Set these times aside now for a good discussion

and fellowship.



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660 Frances Lane

Ashland, OR 97520


The Rev. Joshua Heimbuck, Pastor