First Sunday in Advent

13 You will arise and have pity on | Zion;*
         it is the time to favor her;
         the appointed | time has come.

14 For your servants hold her | stones dear*
         and have pity | on her dust.

15 Nations will fear the name | of the LORD,*
         and all the kings of the earth will fear your | glory.

16 For the LORD builds up | Zion;*
         he appears in his | glory;

17 he regards the prayer of the | destitute*
         and does not de- | spise their prayer.

       —Psalm 102:13–17

Additional Psalm: Psalm 85

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 2:1–22
The Mountain of the LORD
1The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

2It shall come to pass in the latter days
         that the mountain of the house of the LORD

shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
         and shall be lifted up above the hills;

and all the nations shall flow to it,
         3and many peoples shall come, and say:

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
         to the house of the God of Jacob,

that he may teach us his ways
         and that we may walk in his paths.”

For out of Zion shall go the law,
         and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

4He shall judge between the nations,
         and shall decide disputes for many peoples;

and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
         and their spears into pruning hooks;

nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
         neither shall they learn war anymore.

5O house of Jacob,
         come, let us walk
         in the light of the LORD.

The Day of the LORD
6For you have rejected your people,
         the house of Jacob,

because they are full of things from the east
         and of fortune-tellers like the Philistines,
         and they strike hands with the children of foreigners.

7Their land is filled with silver and gold,
         and there is no end to their treasures;

their land is filled with horses,
         and there is no end to their chariots.

8Their land is filled with idols;
         they bow down to the work of their hands,
         to what their own fingers have made.

9So man is humbled,
         and each one is brought low—
         do not forgive them!

10Enter into the rock
         and hide in the dust

from before the terror of the LORD,
         and from the splendor of his majesty.

11The haughty looks of man shall be brought low,
         and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled,

and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

12For the LORD of hosts has a day
         against all that is proud and lofty,
         against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low;

13against all the cedars of Lebanon,
         lofty and lifted up;
         and against all the oaks of Bashan;

14against all the lofty mountains,
         and against all the uplifted hills;

15against every high tower,
         and against every fortified wall;

16against all the ships of Tarshish,
         and against all the beautiful craft.

17And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled,
         and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low,
         and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

18And the idols shall utterly pass away.

19And people shall enter the caves of the rocks
         and the holes of the ground,

from before the terror of the LORD,
         and from the splendor of his majesty,
         when he rises to terrify the earth.

20In that day mankind will cast away
         their idols of silver and their idols of gold,

which they made for themselves to worship,
         to the moles and to the bats,

21to enter the caverns of the rocks
         and the clefts of the cliffs,

from before the terror of the LORD,
         and from the splendor of his majesty,
         when he rises to terrify the earth.

22Stop regarding man
         in whose nostrils is breath,
         for of what account is he?

Additional Reading: Isaiah 3:1–4:6

New Testament Reading: 1 Peter 1:13–25
Called to Be Holy
13Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

22Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24for

“All flesh is like grass
         and all its glory like the flower of grass.

The grass withers,
         and the flower falls,

25but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

Dr. Luther writes in the Preface to St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans:

Faith, however, is a divine work in us that changes us and makes us to be born anew of God, John 1[:12–13]. It kills the old Adam and makes us altogether different men, in heart and spirit and mind and powers; it brings with it the Holy Spirit. O, it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith. It is impossible for it not to be doing good works incessantly. It does not ask whether good works are to be done, but before the question is asked, it has already done them, and is constantly doing them. Whoever does not do such works, however, is an unbeliever. He gropes and looks around for faith and good works, but knows neither what faith is nor what good works are. Yet he talks and talks, with many words, about faith and good works.

Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that the believer would stake his life on it a thousand times. This knowledge of and confidence in God’s grace makes men glad and bold and happy in dealing with God and all creatures. And this is the work that the Holy Spirit performs in faith. Because of it, without compulsion, a person is ready and glad to do good to everyone, to serve everyone, to suffer everything, out of love and praise to God, who has shown him this grace. Thus it is impossible to separate works from faith, quite as impossible as to separate heat and light from fire. [LW 35:370–71]

—Solid Declaration of the Formula
of Concord IV 10–12

Lord, Thee I love with all my heart;

I pray Thee, ne’er from me depart,

With tender mercy cheer me.

Earth has no pleasure I would share.

Yea, heav’n itself were void and bare

If Thou, Lord, wert not near me.

And should my heart for sorrow break,

My trust in Thee can nothing shake.

Thou art the portion I have sought;

Thy precious blood my soul has bought.

Lord Jesus Christ, my God and Lord, my God and Lord,

Forsake me not! I trust Thy Word.

    —Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart (LSB 708:1)

Prayer of the Day
Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Your only-begotten Son, that by His coming we may be enabled to serve You with pure minds; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (L02)

Suggested Reading from
the Book of Concord
Large Catechism Longer Preface 7–13