Tuesday after the First Sunday after Christmas
Scripture: Isaiah 49:1-13 (NKJV)
1 “Listen, O coastlands, to Me, and take heed, you peoples from afar! The Lord has called Me from the womb; From the matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name. 2 And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword; In the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me, and made Me a polished shaft; In His quiver He has hidden Me.”
3 “And He said to me, ‘You are My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.’ 4 Then I said, ‘I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain; Yet surely my just reward is with the Lord, and my work with my God.'”
5 “And now the Lord says, Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel is gathered to Him (for I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and My God shall be My strength), 6 indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.'”
7 Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One, to Him whom man despises, to Him whom the nation abhors, to the Servant of rulers: “Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel; And He has chosen You.”
8 Thus says the Lord: “In an acceptable time I have heard You, and in the day of salvation I have helped You; I will preserve You and give You as a covenant to the people, to restore the earth, to cause them to inherit the desolate heritages; 9 That You may say to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’ “They shall feed along the roads, and their pastures shall be on all desolate heights. 10 They shall neither hunger nor thirst, neither heat nor sun shall strike them; For He who has mercy on them will lead them, even by the springs of water He will guide them. 11 I will make each of My mountains a road, and My highways shall be elevated. 12 Surely these shall come from afar; Look! Those from the north and the west, and these from the land of Sinim.”
13 Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people, and will have mercy on His afflicted.
“Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.'” (Is. 49:6)
As we confess in the Divine Service in the words of Simeon’s song, the Nunc Dimittis, our eyes have seen the Lord’s Salvation, prepared for all people to see in Jesus Christ. At Christmastime we rejoice in the revelation of our Lord’s mercy, which will be given to all nations throughout the rest of the year in His Church. We are made His holy people as we are taught His grace and forgiveness in the Gospel, taught His holiness in the wisdom of His Law, baptized into His death and resurrection unto new life, and fed the blessings of His Body and Blood which show His atonement for our sins.
The kingdom of God is not limited to some spot on the map or defined by the politics of men. It is wherever His Spirit and Word create true faith and manifest His holy works among us. Thanks be to God that His kingdom does come to us in Jesus Christ! With or without our prayers, He comes to us and blesses us according to His good will. May He always grant us His Spirit to see His Salvation!
We pray: Lord God, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven; In Jesus Christ’s Name. Amen.