Christmas Greetings – December 25, 2017

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Luke 1:26-28

Christmas Greetings

Daily Devotion – December 25, 2017

Devotion based on Luke 1:26-28

See series: Devotions

The Christmas card has gone through some big changes. There was a day when each one was written out by hand and individually addressed. Technology has simplified much of that.

The purpose of a Christmas card has changed too. Often it served as a kind of condensed history of the sender’s past year. Now we can simply check social media and see what our entire network of casual acquaintances are doing at any time. However, despite the changes in form and function, it’s still nice to get a Christmas card.

At the time of the first Christmas, Mary, the mother of Jesus, got a wonderful kind of greeting. An angel from God came to her with a special message: “Greetings, you who are highly favored!” This message must have taken this young woman by surprise. She did not think she was anything special (Luke 2:48). But the angel had some special good news for her: “The Lord is with you.”

The Lord knew everything about this young woman. God knew her life plans, her hopes and dreams. Most importantly he loved Mary deeply. As God was about to enact the culmination of his plan of salvation for the world he loved, he chose Mary, a virgin, to be a special part of that plan. God chose her to give birth to his Son, our Savior, Jesus.

At times, God’s knowledge of us may make us feel uneasy and ashamed. He knows more about us than posts on social media reveal. He sees the ups and downs, the good and bad moments. He cannot be fooled by outward appearances because he examines our hearts and our motives. He knows our sins—all of them. This is why we need his Son, Jesus Christ, because we are not perfect. As we get closer to Christmas celebrations, our hearts are filled with joy as we read God’s Christmas greetings to us in the Bible. He tells us what he enacted throughout the history of the world to save us from eternal death. God tells us of our Savior who came to open the way to heaven for us.

Christmas cards may make us feel better for a little while, but the Bible gives us abiding peace and lasting joy. Even now, the Lord is with us—just as he was with Mary. We have many advantages in our day and age, but many of the problems and challenges we face are essentially the same. We still live in a sinful world, with a sinful flesh, just like Mary did.

Take comfort in knowing that the Lord is with you. He stands by your side when you feel all alone. He forgives you even when you struggle to forgive yourself. He strengthens you through his gospel when you are feeling weak. He is the Light you long for as you walk in a world of darkness. The Lord is with you and always will be.

Lord God, you are with me. Remind me of your loving and abiding presence throughout this Christmas season. Amen.

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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Jesus is the Son of God – December 24, 2017

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 1:1-4

Jesus is the Son of God

Daily Devotion – December 24, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 1:1-4

See series: Devotions

Who is Jesus Christ? That’s a fair question to ask this time of year, isn’t it? After all, Christmas is the most popular holiday of the year. People from all over the world celebrate it, and, whether they recognize it or not, Jesus Christ is the very reason for and cause of the celebration! So who is this world-famous baby lying so meekly and mildly in the manger of Bethlehem? Who is Jesus Christ?

Depending on whom you ask, you might hear a few different answers to that question. “Jesus Christ was a great prophet, the greatest to ever live!” “Jesus Christ was a great pioneer, a visionary who started one of the most popular religions in the world!” “Jesus Christ was a great hero who gave up his life for a noble cause!”

But all those descriptions fall short, because none of them give Jesus Christ credit for who he truly is. The apostle Paul’s description of Jesus Christ, however, does not fall short. His description here in Romans chapter one is both true and beautiful. Jesus Christ is true man, “a descendant of David,” Paul says. But Paul also confesses the truth that Jesus Christ is the very “Son of God”. It was this Jesus, the one true God made flesh, who willingly gave up his life in order to pay for the sins of the world with his blood.

But how do we know this for certain? How do we know that this man who died on a cross just thirty-three years after his birth wasn’t just some great prophet, some great pioneer, some great hero who gave up his life for a noble cause? How do we know that this man was also the one true God whose death truly forgave all of our sins?

Paul’s answer is simple. We know because this man who died did not stay dead. Rather, he “was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead.”

So who is this world-famous baby lying so meekly and mildly in the manger of Bethlehem? Who is Jesus Christ? The complete answer does not lie in his manger, for his manger was only the beginning. The answer truly lies in his empty tomb. Jesus Christ is the one true God who willingly became true man and then lived, died, and rose to save us from our sins.

May this beautiful truth resound throughout your Christmas celebration this year!

Lord Jesus Christ, by your resurrection from death, you have proven yourself to be the one true God who has forgiven all our sins. As we celebrate your birth this Christmas season, may the beautiful truth of your resurrection remain in our hearts and minds as well. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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We Are Included in God’s Family – December 23, 2017

When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
Galatians 4:4-5

We Are Included in God’s Family

Daily Devotion – December 23, 2017

Devotion based on Galatians 4:4-5

See series: Devotions

Christmas is a time for celebrating family. It is a time to gather together as parents and children, as siblings and cousins, as grandparents and grandkids—what a joy it is to be included in a family!

Such joy would be rather void and empty if it weren’t for another family relationship we celebrate at Christmas—a far more important family relationship—our relationship with God through faith in Christ.

The apostle Paul speaks of that family relationship in Galatians chapter four. He speaks of us receiving from God “the full rights of sons.” What a joy it is to be called God’s children! What a joy it is to be included in God’s family!

But it wasn’t always that way. In fact, our relationship with God used to be completely broken. As human beings, we were born “under [God’s] law.” In other words, everything that God, the Giver of the law, demands of all people in his laws and commandments, God expects us to obey, and obey perfectly. However, as sinful human beings, we have lived under God’s law imperfectly. We have broken God’s law repeatedly, and we continue to do so every time we sin. Because of such disobedience, we deserve to be outside of God’s family forever. We deserve to suffer the punishment of hell, separated from all of our heavenly Father’s blessings.

But it was never God’s desire that we should live outside of his family. And so, God determined to send us a Savior from sin. That Savior would be his very own Son. In pure grace, God molded and shaped the course of human history so that, at just the right time, “when the time had fully come,” he could send his Son into the world. Though his Son was true God in every sense of the word, he became a human being. Just like us, he was “born of a woman, born under law.”

Can we even fathom it? The one true God and Giver of the law willingly became a man and placed himself under the law, all so that he could be just like us! But there was one difference. Unlike us, God’s Son never sinned. He lived under his very own laws perfectly for his entire life.

And then, when he gave up his life on the cross of Calvary after a lifetime of perfect living, the Lord did something amazing. The one who lived perfectly washed all of our sins away in his blood and gave us his perfection in return. And now, when God looks at us, he no longer sees any sin. He sees only his own Son’s perfection. Because of it, our relationship with God has been fixed. We are part of his holy family. And we will be forever and ever.

Yes, Christmas is a time for celebrating family. What a joy it is, because of the saving work of God’s Son, to be included in God’s family!

Heavenly Father, you have brought us into your family through the saving work of your Son. This Christmas season give us the faith to receive that good news with joy. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Bulletin for December 24 & 25, 2017

St. John’s & Emmanuel

Evangelical Lutheran Churches

Montello & Mecan, WI

Image result for christmas albrecht durer


A Reformation Christmas

December 24 & 25, 2017


With great joy we celebrate today the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. The word incarnation comes from the Latin, meaning “to be made flesh.” God wrapped himself in the flesh and blood of his own human creation and humbled himself to be born of the virgin Mary. Whether our mental images of this event are shaped by the warm glow of softly lit manger scenes and quiet Christmas carols, or whether we think of the rough, simple, and humble starkness of our Lord’s birth, attended by angels and working shepherds, the message is the same: Christ the Savior is born! Let us rejoice and celebrate!


Christmas is the last Christian festival in the calendar year in which we commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. As with previous special services in Lutheran churches in 2017, much has been said by and about Martin Luther. This service is no exception. And yet they have never emphasized the man; it’s always been his message. And that message is that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone according to the Scriptures alone. Luther himself admitted, “I have done nothing; the Word has done and accomplished everything.… I let the Word do its work!” Even though today’s service contains many Luther quotes and hymns, they always point to Christ and his Word. We pray that the Holy Spirit will use that Word today to do its work of nurturing and saving souls.


OPENING HYMN Now Sing We, Now Rejoice

Christian Worship 34

remain seated

INVOCATION Matthew 28:19

M: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

C: Amen.


We sustained a hurt through Adam’s fall. Through it all of us are tainted with sins and subject to death. But greater than this hurt is the blessing we receive through Christ. He became man himself in order to redeem us from sin and death. The devil came close to us; but he did not come so close as to assume our nature. For although he fell through pride and thereupon persuaded man also to fall away from God, he nevertheless did not become man and did not come so close to us as did God’s Son, who became our flesh and blood. What Luther Says, 456


M: God invites us to come into his presence and worship him with humble and penitent hearts. Therefore, let us acknowledge our sinfulness and ask him to forgive us.

C: Holy and merciful Father, I confess that I am by nature sinful and that I have disobeyed you in my thoughts, words, and actions. I have done what is evil and failed to do what is good. For this I deserve your punishment both now and in eternity. But I am truly sorry for my sins, and trusting in my Savior Jesus Christ, I pray: Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.

M: God, our heavenly Father, has been merciful to us and has given his only Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Therefore, as a called servant of Christ and by his authority, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

C: Amen.


Behold Christ lying in the lap of his young mother, still a virgin. What can be sweeter than the Babe, what more lovely than the mother! What fairer than her youth! What more gracious than her virginity! Look at the Child, knowing nothing. Yet all that is belongs to him, that your conscience should not fear but take comfort in him. Doubt nothing. Watch him springing in the lap of the maiden. Laugh with him. Look upon this Lord of Peace and your spirit will be at peace. See how God invites you in many ways. He places before you a Babe with whom you may take refuge. You cannot fear him, for nothing is more appealing to man than a babe. Are you affrighted? Then come to him, lying in the lap of the fairest and sweetest maid. You will see how great is the divine goodness, which seeks above all else that you should not despair. Trust him! Trust him! Here is the Child in whom is salvation. To me there is no greater consolation given to mankind than this, that Christ became man, a child, a babe, playing in the lap and at the breasts of his most gracious mother. Who is there whom this sight would not comfort? Now is overcome the power of sin, death, hell, conscience, and guilt, if you come to this gurgling Babe and believe that he is come, not to judge you, but to save. The Martin Luther Christmas Book, p40


M: Now let us give thanks to the Lord our God, who by his nativity freed us from the devil’s power. Therefore it is right that we forever sing with the angels: “Glory to God in the highest!”

HYMN OF PRAISE All Praise to You, Eternal God

Christian Worship 33


M: The Lord be with you.

C: And also with you.

M: Let us pray: Almighty God, grant that the birth of your one and only Son in the flesh may set us free from our old bondage under the yoke of sin; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C: Amen.



This is the word of the prophet: “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” This is for us the hardest point, not so much to believe that he is the son of the Virgin and God himself, as to believe that this Son of God is ours. That is where we wilt, but he who does feel it has become another man. Truly it is marvelous in our eyes that God should place a little child in the lap of a virgin and that all our blessedness should lie in him. And this Child belongs to all mankind. God feeds the whole world through a Babe nursing at Mary’s breast. This must be our daily exercise: to be transformed into Christ, being nourished by this food. Then will the heart be suffused with all joy and will be strong and confident against every assault. The Martin Luther Christmas Book, p23

FIRST LESSON Isaiah 9:2,6-7

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.


Ah, we poor people, to be so cold and sluggish in the face of the great joy that has clearly been prepared for us! This great benefaction exceeds by far all the other works of creation; and yet our faith in it is found to be so weak, although it is preached and sung to us by angels, who are heavenly theologians and who were so glad for our sake! Their song is very, very beautiful and describes the entire Christian religion. For giving glory to God in the highest heaven is the supreme worship. This they wish and bring us in the Christ. What Luther Says, 459


Sing to the LORD a new song,*

for he has done marvelous things.

The LORD has made his salvation known*

and revealed his righteousness to the nations.

He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel;*

all the ends of the earth have seen

the salvation of our God.


Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,*

burst into jubilant song with music;

make music to the LORD with the harp,*

with the harp and the sound of singing.

Shout for joy before the LORD, the King.*

He will judge the world in righteousness

and the peoples with equity.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son*

and to the Holy Spirit,

as it was in the beginning,*

is now, and will be forever. Amen.




It is not for the angels to be proud of Christ’s incarnation, for Christ did not assume an angelic but a human nature. Therefore it would not be a surprise if the angels looked at us with envy in their eyes because we human beings, creatures far inferior to them and sinners besides, are placed above them into an honor so high and great. They worship Christ, who has become our Brother, our flesh and blood; and yet they are not envious but gladly grant us the honor and are sincerely pleased by the fact that Christ is our Brother. They marvel at the human nature in Christ; and yet the honor and glory are not theirs but ours. Are we human beings unable to rejoice and be proud of it? What Luther Says, 458

SECOND LESSON Hebrews 1:1-9

1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. 5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,

“You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Psalm 2:7

Or again,

“I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”? 2 Samuel 7:14; 1 Chronicles 17:13

6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God’s angels worship him.” Deuteronomy 32:43

7 In speaking of the angels he says,

“He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.” Psalm 104:4

8 But about the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;

a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.

9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;

therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions

by anointing you with the oil of joy.” Psalm 45:6,7


The greatest treasure and the highest comfort we Christians have is the fact that the Word, the true, natural Son of God, has become a man who in every respect has flesh and blood as any other man has, and who has become man for our sake that we may be raised to the great glory of having our flesh and blood, our entire body, with all its parts and members, sit in heaven above, like God; that we may boldly defy the devil and whatever assails us. For now we are certain that our bodies belong in heaven and are heirs of the kingdom of heaven. What Luther Says, 455


GOSPEL John 1:1-14

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.


M: This is the Gospel of the Lord.

C: Praise be to you, O Christ!

be seated

HYMN OF THE DAY To Shepherds As They Watched by Night

Christian Worship 53

SERMON “Born to Save Us”



M: Do you believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, your Lord?

C: I believe that Jesus Christ,

true God, begotten of the Father from eternity,

and also true man, born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord.

He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature,

purchased and won me from all sins, from death,

and from the power of the devil,

not with gold or silver but with his holy, precious blood

and with his innocent suffering and death.

All this he did that I should be his own,

and live under him in his kingdom,

and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness,

just as he has risen from death and lives and rules eternally.

This is most certainly true. Luther’s Small Catechism

be seated


PRAYER OF THE CHURCH Based on quotations from Martin Luther

M: Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs.

C: God wants us to pray, and he wants to hear our prayers—

not because we are worthy, but because he is merciful.

M: Lord Jesus, you descended from heaven into this humility and came to us in our flesh. You placed yourself into the womb of a virgin and into the manger and then went on to the cross. This was the ladder you placed on earth so that we might ascend to you on it.

C: No other God have I but thee—

Born in a manger, died on a tree.

M: O most merciful Father, you sent your only Son into the world and laid upon him the sins of all people, saying, “You be Peter that denier; Paul that persecutor, blasphemer and cruel oppressor; David that adulterer; that sinner who ate the apple in Paradise; that thief who hung upon the cross; and briefly, you be the person who has committed the sins of all people. See therefore that you pay and satisfy for them.”

C: Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness, I am your sin.

You have taken upon yourself what was mine and given me what was yours.

You became what you were not, that I might become what I was not.

M: As we celebrate the birth of Christ, help us pledge ourselves anew to the cause of Christ. Lead us to capture the spirit of the early church. Wherever the early Christians went, they made a triumphant witness for Christ. Whether on the village streets or in the city jails, they daringly proclaimed the good news of the gospel.

C: I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word

Till soul and body sever;

For though all things shall pass away, “God’s Word Shall Stand Forever”

His Word shall stand forever. attr. to Luther

M: As we contemplate our Savior’s birth, should we think: “If I had only been there! How quick I would have been to help the Baby. I would have washed his linen. How happy I would have been to go with the shepherds to see the Lord lying in the manger!” Open our eyes to similar opportunities today as you lead us to see Christ in our neighbor.

M: Lord, grant that anger or other bitterness do not reign over us,

but that your grace, genuine kindness, loyalty,

and every kind of friendliness, generosity, and gentleness may reign in us.

M: The prosperity of a country depends, not on the abundance of its revenues, nor on the strength of its fortifications, nor on the beauty of its public buildings; but it consists in the number of its cultivated citizens, in its people of education, enlightenment and character.

C: Bless our country with a government that administers and upholds justice.

M: O Great Physician of soul and body, you are no doubt able to make those who are sick well and those who are suffering whole. If it is your will, heal them. Whether in sickness or in health, help them place all their confidence in you.

C: Therefore if we are sick, we are not sick unto ourselves;

if we are well, we are not well unto ourselves;

if we are in trouble, we are not in trouble unto ourselves;

if we are glad we are not glad unto ourselves. What Luther Says, 4121

For whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Romans 14:8

M: As we celebrate the Lord’s Supper this festival day, it is the highest art to know that our Sacrament does not depend upon our worthiness. We are not baptized because we are worthy and holy. Nor do we go to Confession because we are pure and without sin. On the contrary, we go because we are poor, miserable people. We go exactly because we are unworthy. Large Catechism, V, par.61

C: Lord Jesus, with joy and gratitude I now come to your table

to receive the precious food of your life-giving body and blood.

May it strengthen me to remain in you as you remain in me,

so that I bear much fruit in devoted service to you

and in acts of kindness to others. Christian Worship, p156

Special prayers and intercessions may follow.

M: Hear us Lord, as we bring you our private petitions.

Silent prayer.

M: Into your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy. Let us not flutter too high, but remain by the manger and the swaddling clothes of Christ, in whom all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form. Colossians 2:9

C: Unto him who is able to keep us from falling,

and lift us from the dark to the bright mountain of hope,

from the midnight of desperation to the daybreak of joy,

to him be power and authority for ever and ever. Amen.


M: Lord Jesus, remember us in your kingdom and teach us to pray:

C: 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.

HYMN From Heaven Above to Earth I Come

Christian Worship 38: 14, 15

NOTE: At the 12/24 7:00pm service at St. John’s, individual candles will be distributed (Remember-don’t tip a lighted candle)


“And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” That is wrong. We should correct this passage to read, “They went and shaved their heads, fasted, told their rosaries, and put on cowls.” Instead we read, “The shepherds returned.” Where to? To their sheep. Oh, that can’t be right! Did they not leave everything and follow Christ? Must not one forsake father and mother, wife and child, to be saved? But the Scripture says plainly that they returned and did exactly the same work as before. They did not despise their service, but took it up again where they left off with all fidelity and I tell you that no bishop on earth ever had so fine a crook as those shepherds.

The Martin Luther Christmas Book, p50

BLESSING Numbers 6:24-26

M: Brothers and sisters, go in peace. Return to your homes and families, your fields and flocks, your businesses and industries. Serve the Lord with gladness.

The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.

The Lord look on you with favor and give you peace.

C: Amen.

CLOSING HYMN Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful

Christian Worship 55


Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.

“History of Christmas Trees”


Theme for next Sunday (12/31):

The Sunday after Christmas–New Year’s Eve: Jesus Shared Our Humanity

Note: Please give your completed friendship register page to an usher or pastor as you leave today’s service.

Sun. 8:00 A.M. Emmanuel Christmas Eve Worship
8:20 A.M. Emmanuel Nursery Sunday School
8:30 A.M. St. John’s Sunday School
9:00 A.M. Emmanuel Adult Bible Study
9:00 A.M. Caroling at Montello Care Center
10:00 A.M. St. John’s Christmas Eve Worship
7:00 P.M. St. John’s “A Reformation Christmas” Candlelight Christmas Eve Worship
Mon. 9:00 A.M. Emmanuel Christmas Day “A Reformation Christmas” Worship
Wed. 6:30 P.M. St. John’s Worship with communion
Thurs. 10:00 A.M. Montello Care Center Devotion with communion
6:00 P.M. Griefshare at St. John’s

The Sunday after Christmas–New Year’s Eve: Jesus Shared Our Humanity

8:00 A.M. Emmanuel Worship
8:20 A.M. Emmanuel Nursery Sunday School
8:30 A.M. St. John’s Sunday School
9:00 A.M. Emmanuel Adult Bible Study
10:00 A.M. St. John’s Worship
7:00 P.M. St. John’s Candlelight Memorial/New Year’s Eve Worship with communion
Monday, 9:00A.M. Emmanuel Memorial/New Year’s Day Worship with communion

LITTLE LAMBS DIRECTOR CALL MEETING Our current Little Lambs director, Sandy Hemling, has asked to step down from her position as Little Lambs director.  The school board has requested from our WELS Northern Wisconsin District President, Pastor Joel Zank, a list of candidates to be reviewed at a Call meeting scheduled for Sunday 1/7/18 at 11:30 a.m.  We thank Sandy Hemling for her faithful service and willingness to continue serving in coming months until her position as Little Lambs director is filled.

ST. JOHN’S OFFERING STATEMENT SIGN-UP The signup sheet is located in the church link way. Please sign up if you wish to have a copy of your 2017 offering statement.

See the source imageST. JOHN’S OFFERING ENVELOPES 2018 are located in the link way of church. Please pick yours up but do not use until January 2018. If you do not have a box, feel free to contact pastor or the office and we will get one to you!

EMMANUEL SUNDAY BIBLE CLASS will resume January 7, 2018 at 9:00a.m.

THANK YOU to Bob & Lynn Pegarsch for donating $1,500.00 to St. John’s Lutheran School. Your gift is appreciated! “I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.” Psalm 7:17

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NEW YEAR’S EVE LOCK-IN All 6th-12th graders are invited to our youth group’s 3rd annual NYE lock-in. Enjoy an evening of fun & games, movies, not to mention lots of snacks & food. We will begin after St. John’s New Years Eve service, concluding at 9 am on NY’s day. For more details, or to sign up, call or text us at 608-697-1600(Mark)or 608-697-3327(Patty). Deadline to sign up is December 27.

GRIEFSHARE Please join us at Griefshare! Griefshare is a grief recovery support group that is open to the public. Grief is a part of life, but it does not have to consume your life. Learn from a panel of experts and those who have walked down the road from mourning to joy! There is no charge for this class and light refreshments will also be served. Griefshare will be a 13 week long session, every Thursday at 6:00 pm. To sign up or if you have questions please call the facilitator, Mark Emond at 608-697-1600.

ALTAR FLOWERS If you are interested, we are always in need of altar flowers. Feel free to contact the church/school office!

CHURCH WEBSITE Thank you Kerry and Jen Mann for the work on our church website:  Your comments and suggestions for improvement are welcomed: 414-339-9031 –

WEDNESDAY ADVENT DEVOTIONS Please join us for our special Wednesday Advent Devotions: “Advent Equations” – 3:30pm at E & 6:30pm at SJ. Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

WELCOME NEW MEMBERS 12/3 at Emmanuel: Josh & Amanda Kuchar and son Weston, 12/10 at St. John’s: Adam Myers & Jennifer Strauss – A new “Bible Information Class” will begin on Wed 1/3/18 at 7:30pm in pastor’s office/conference room at St. John’s.  Alternate days/times can also be scheduled. Free study guides are available from pastor…just ask.

NEW WEEKDAY/EVE BIBLE CLASS Beginning January 2018, we’ll be starting a new weekday/eve Bible Study entitled: “Your Questions–Scriptures Answers: Adiaphora” (things that God doesn’t command or forbid in the Bible and how we are to properly use our Christian freedom).  We meet at St. John’s in the pastor’s office/conference room Monday 7:30pm (beginning 1/8) and Wednesday 10am (beginning 1/3). “Therefore let us leave the elementery teachings about Chrsit and go on to maturity…” (Hebrews 6:1)

See the source imageNEW YEAR’S EVE/DAY COMMUNION/SAINTS TRIUMPHANT SERVICES  Sunday 12/31 7pm at St. John’s and Monday 1/1 9am at Emmanuel, communion services are scheduled where the names of our E/SJ members called to their heavenly home in 2017 will be read and bells tolled. “For all the saints who from their labors rest…” (Hymn 551)


Emmanuel: Today December 24 Christmas Eve Brian Ninneman, Jim Stuempges, Joe Heller, December 25 Christmas Day 9:00am Darrell Buchholz, Glenn Buchholz, Paul Dahlke, December 31 Lucas Stelter, Paul Wuerch, DuWayne Sommerfeld

St. John’s: Today December 24 (C) Christmas Eve Dennis Wacholtz, Richard Freitag, Gerhardt Voigt, Mitch Simon, Karl Whitrock, December 24 Candlelight Service 7:00pm Jack Yates; Chief, Matt Borzick, Glen Bubolz, Al Rosenthal, Christopher Smith, December 31 Don Smith, Chief, Calvin Wojtalewicz, Zeb Zuehls, Mark Emond, Kevin Kaul, December 31 (C) Candlelight New Year’s Eve Service Kenon Smith; Chief, Scott Ritz, James Kunde, Ken Borzick, Thomas Wojtalewicz

GREETERS TODAY Delvin & Jean Henke

Attendance Emmanuel St. John’s
12-17 12-17 LL 1 2-20 E 12-20 SJ 78 43 179 ? 22

In addition to our regular St. John’s Sunday 10:00 a.m. and Emmanuel 8:00 a.m. services, please see our special Christmas Service schedule below. God bless you this Christmas season!

Sunday, December 24, 2017 7:00 p.m. “A Reformation Christmas” Candlelight Service at St. John’s
Monday, December 25, 2017 9:00 a.m. “A Reformation Christmas” Service at Emmanuel
Sunday, December 31, 2017 7:00 p.m. New Year’s Eve Service at St. John’s with communion
Monday, January 1, 2018 9:00 a.m. New Year’s Day service at Emmanuel with communion

Welcome To Our Visitors!

Please Sign Our Guest Register

Visit our website & Facebook link at:

Pastor Peter Zietlow Office (608) 297-2321

Cell & Text (608) 408-7830, E-mail:

Principal Tim Hemling (608) 745-2549

Teacher Karin Stellick (920) 342-3689

Teacher Sara Borck (858) 731-7919

Teacher Sandra Hemling (608) 745-2776

Parish/School Secretary Ciara Neuhauser (608) 297-2866

Altar Ladies Elaine Kelm (920) 344-0025 &

Carolyn Rosenthal 589-5036

Mail to: 313 E Montello St, Montello, WI 53949


Winnebago Lutheran Academy

Principal Mr. David Schroeder/WLA office (920) 921-4930

WLA website:

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Overcome Evil with Good – December 22, 2017

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:17-21

Overcome Evil with Good

Daily Devotion – December 22, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 12:17-21

See series: Devotions

A Christian friend shared this story from his life. He was driving across town and irritated another driver on the roadway. That driver accelerated past him, yelled some choice words, made an obscene gesture, and sped on by. Not long after, the Christian man saw that same car stopped on the shoulder with car trouble.

What would you have done if that sequence of events happened to you? Would you have laughed at the other driver’s misfortune? Would you have said a prayer or even stopped to help?

Throughout our lives, people are going to say and do evil things that will cause us pain and hardship. Our sinful hearts will want to avenge these wrongs. Our sinful hearts will think that the best way to overcome evil is with evil. God’s Word warns, “Do not be overcome by evil!”

God’s Word also encourages, “But overcome evil with good!” This is only possible through a good God who alone can deliver us from evil and who has overcome the evil of our sin. This is only possible through a just God who assures that he will avenge and repay. This is only possible with a God of peace whose forgiveness allows us to live at peace with him and whose peace enables us, as far as it depends on us, to live at peace with everyone.

So, what did the Christian driver do? He stopped behind the other car. When the driver saw who had stopped, he feared that the man he had treated so poorly would now treat him poorly. But this Christian man hadn’t come to repay evil for evil. He came to offer help and assistance. He overcame evil with good. May our God equip us to do the same!

Lord Jesus, deliver us from evil! Forgive us of the evil we have done to others. Forgive others of the evil they have done to us. In the faith, goodness, and strength you provide, help us to overcome evil with good. Amen.

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Humility Creates Harmony – December 21, 2017

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Romans 12:16

Humility Creates Harmony

Daily Devotion – December 21, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 12:16

See series: Devotions

What does it look like when two people live in harmony? They might smile at each other. They might laugh a lot. If two people are in harmony with one another, you would never see them fighting. They would never avoid eye contact with one another. They would never use cutting sarcasm with, or say anything mean about, the other person. Harmonious relationships are good relationships. They can be a great source of joy, encouragement, and strength.

Relationships in which there is some hostility or friction, however, can be quite the opposite. And what are you supposed to do if you have a relationship like that, one that frequently fills you with discouragement or pain? Well, there’s one thing you should not do. You should not wait for the other person to make the first move.

Today’s verse states a godly goal for all your relationships: “Live in harmony with one another.” And the instructions as to how you should carry that out all have one thing in common. They all focus your attention on your own heart and actions—not the other person’s. “Do not be proud.” “Be willing to associate with people of low position.” “Do not be conceited.” In other words, use your time and energy to love and to serve the other person. Or, to say it another way, do what Jesus did.

When God’s relationship with us became broken with sin, the Son of God didn’t sit in heaven waiting for us to love him. He came as a baby in Bethlehem. Jesus lowered himself into the humblest of situations, associating himself at birth with the lowliest of families, associating himself throughout his ministry with the most recognizable sinners, and eventually taking the lowest position of all on a cross as a sacrifice for our sins. Why? Because he desired a harmonious relationship with us. And he knew that harmony can only be accomplished by humility.

Lord Jesus, thank you the perfect harmony we enjoy with God because of your humility. In our relationships with one another, help us to humble ourselves, just as you did. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Great Things God Has Done – December 20, 2017

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD‘s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. … I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.
Isaiah 61:1–3, 10–11

Great Things God Has Done

Daily Devotion – December 20, 2017

Devotion based on Isaiah 61:1–3, 10–11

See series: Devotions

Early in Jesus’ ministry, he entered the synagogue in Nazareth. He stood up to read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah—he spoke words recorded in our lesson for today. When Jesus finished, he said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, Isaiah was inspired by God the Holy Spirit to reveal what kind of Savior Jesus would be. The prophet saw the Savior’s great work in the future, and he anticipated the amazing blessings the Lord’s anointed one would bring to the world.

As Jesus applied the prophecy to himself, he knew that his Father in heaven had chosen him by anointing him with the Holy Spirit. The anointing was a permanent presence that guided and directed the entire ministry of Jesus. Jesus’ work was preaching and proclaiming; binding up wounds in healing; replacing sadness and despair with hope and joy. He came to comfort God’s people with the good news of salvation that his Father sent him to win for them.

Believers are the Lord’s “planting,” like a grove of oaks in a dry land. Strong and sturdy, they display for all the world to see that the Lord graciously bestows rich blessings on his people. He covers them completely with Jesus’ righteousness and grants them salvation from the captivity of sin and the darkness of death.

Now the acorns of the mighty oaks sprout and grow. God produces the fruits of faith, righteous actions and words of praise in his holy people. They spring up right in front of the whole world so that everyone can see what great things God has done, and lead people everywhere to praise him for his gifts of righteousness and salvation through Jesus.

Lord God, praise and glory to you for the great things you have done! Fill my heart with joy for the righteousness and salvation that are mine by faith in Jesus. Use me to display these great blessings to others around me. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Nuggets of Wisdom – December 19, 2017

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Nuggets of Wisdom

Daily Devotion – December 19, 2017

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

See series: Devotions

Crack. You open the fortune cookie and pull out the little paper. You read aloud: “A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.” Thought-provoking, maybe. But profound? Useful? A truly helpful nugget of wisdom? Hardly.

The apostle Paul wrote short, concise sayings too. But he offered far better wisdom and help than anything found in a fortune cookie. “Rejoice always.” “Pray continually.” “Give thanks in all circumstances.” Short. But profound. And helpful!

“Rejoice always.” Joy is a fruit of faith in Jesus. When we belong to Christ Jesus, God wants us to reflect how blessed it is to have forgiveness and eternal life in heaven. It’s deeper than being in a happy mood all the time. Joy is a deep-down blessedness, a quiet, lifelong celebrating that we belong to Christ.

“Pray continually.” All day, every day, we get to talk to God. And even though we are sinners who should be shut out, God listens. Because of Jesus, he listens! He listens to our prayers, whether they are out loud or silent, thought out or spontaneous, from a prayer book or in our own words. He listens to our thanksgiving, as Paul says: “Give thanks in all circumstances.” So much to give thanks for. So many blessings from our gracious God. Though we too often complain or fall into self-pity or a sense of entitlement, our gracious God loves us and forgives us. He gave his own dear Son Jesus to earn full forgiveness for us by his death on the cross. And on top of that, God blesses us with every spiritual blessing in Christ, for time and for eternity.

Short. Concise. But nothing fluffy about these little sayings. They are God’s wisdom. They give his encouragement and daily help. They carry God’s own blessing: “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”

These little sayings don’t belong in fortune cookies. They belong in our hearts and lives.

Dear Father, feed me with your divine wisdom. Give me daily joy. Hear my constant prayers to you in Christ. Lead me in thankful living in all circumstances. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and
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What’s your secret? – December 18, 2017

There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. … Now this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.” They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” Now some Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
John 1:6-8,19-27

What’s your secret?

Daily Devotion – December 18, 2017

Devotion based on John 1:6-8,19-27

See series: Devotions

John the Baptist was a different kind of guy. In his Gospel, Matthew reports that John lived in the wilderness. His “clothes were made of camel’s hair and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.” Yet his powerful message drew people out to him. He was different—and people were interested in why.

When the religious leaders of that day asked John who he was, John confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.” John was different, but he was not the difference-maker. He was not the light, but testified about the Light. God used a different kind of man to announce the coming difference-maker, Jesus Christ. God used the voice of one crying in the wilderness, to straighten out the hearts of his hearers and introduce them to the Prince of peace. John implored people to repent of their sins and pointed them to Christ as their Redeemer.

We need this same Word to work in our hearts too. Do you have a secret sin that you think would destroy you if it were revealed? Do you carry around a load of guilt about something you have not done or been? Do you expend a lot of energy trying to suppress your shame? Buying the perfect presents or finding fantastic Christmas decorations can’t take care of deep spiritual problems like these. Only God’s Word can straighten us out.

John confessed that he was not worthy of the Christ. None of us are worthy of a holy, righteous God. But our God of grace and mercy still sent the Light, his Son Jesus Christ. Jesus lived a perfect life in thoughts, words, and deeds. He offered tender comfort to those who were hurting and broken. He had tough conversations with those who thought they had it all figured out on their own. He was never self-centered, but always self-sacrificing.

Jesus lived perfectly to make you worthy. His sacrificial death is the eternal difference-maker. It is God’s love that makes you special. That was John’s message. God has made it known in his Word. It’s no secret. God made you someone different. Through Christ you are a redeemed and beloved child of God.

Dear heavenly Father, you so loved the world that you sent your only Son to save and redeem me from my sin. Strengthen me to live a life worthy of the grace you’ve given me. Use my voice to proclaim the good news of your Son, Jesus Christ. In his name, I pray. Amen.

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Wait with Patience – December 17, 2017

Be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.
James 5:8

Wait with Patience

Daily Devotion – December 17, 2017

Devotion based on James 5:8

See series: Devotions

‘I can’t wait!’ That’s a common cry this time of year. Children have been adding items to their Christmas lists for weeks. Waiting another week to see what they actually get seems unbearable. It’s just as hard to wait inside the confines of a classroom, struggling through tests and holding back excitement for the Christmas break. It’s equally difficult to wait when you are holding a ticket to visit your grandchildren over the Christmas holiday. It doesn’t matter how long you stare at the calendar, there are no shortcuts for waiting until Christmas gets closer. Waiting requires patience.

The Bible acknowledges patience isn’t a natural virtue inside any of us. It’s especially true when life isn’t going right. When you are afflicted with sickness or when you are being mistreated, waiting for relief is just about the hardest thing to do. It would be much more natural to grumble and complain when your health is poor. When you aren’t being treated fairly, it’s much easier to lash out and hurt someone back or criticize someone else to make them feel as lousy as you feel.

So the Bible tells you to be patient. Wait until Jesus comes. Holding out during those difficult times is like a farmer waiting for his crops to grow. It won’t do him any good to complain about how slowly they’re growing. It would be a waste of time for him to yell and scream and scold those plants until they grow faster. All the farmer can do is make sure he has done his job and then wait for the results to appear.

That’s how God wants you to handle your frustrations and challenges in life. Sometimes you can’t overcome that sickness or get rid of that mistreatment. Yet you can still place your trust in God during those difficult times. Then you can wait for God to do his job. You already know that God did his biggest job when he sent Jesus to this earth on that first Christmas. Jesus took on himself all of the abuse and mistreatment he never deserved. Jesus suffered for all the world’s spiritual sickness. Jesus took away the punishment for all of our complaining and grumbling and stinging criticisms of others. The results of Jesus’ work mean peace and forgiveness for believing hearts.

‘I can’t wait!’ can be your motto for the return of Jesus. You don’t have to count down the days on the calendar. You can wait with patience since you know Jesus brings more than just presents or a brief visit or a break from school. You can stand firm and eagerly wait for the blessings Jesus has in store for you when he comes back to take you home to heaven.

Lord Jesus, visit my heart to give me your patience. Fill my life with your love and forgiveness so I can patiently endure earthly struggles while I wait for you to come back and bring me your eternal blessings. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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