Aardvark Alley

Lutheran Aardvark

Confessional Lutheran theology, hagiography, philosophy, music, culture, sports, education, and whatever else is on the fevered mind of Orycteropus Afer

29 December 2007
  + David +
29 December, Old Testament

David and GoliathDavid, son of Jesse, went from tending his father's flocks to being the greatest of Israel's kings. He ruled from about 1010 to 970 B.C. He was chosen by the Lord and anointed by Samuel to replace the apostate King Saul, for whom David had provided years of faithful service. The events of his life are found from 1 Samuel 16 through 1 Kings 2 and in 1 Chronicles 10 through chapter 29. David's son Solomon succeeded him as king.

David was also gifted musically. Skilled in playing the lyre, he wrote at least seventy-three of the Psalms, including the beloved Psalm 23 and several Messianic prophecies, including the foreshadowing of Christ's crucifixion in Psalm 22.

David's public and private character displayed a mixture of good, for example, his defeat of the giant Goliath, (1 Samuel 17) and evil, as in his adultery with Bathsheba, Uriah's wife, followed by his murder of Uriah, (2 Samuel 11). David's greatness lay in his fierce loyalty to God as Israel's military and political leader. For example, under his leadership, the people of Israel were united into a single nation with Jerusalem as the capital city.

This devotion to the Lord and to the people was coupled with his willingness to acknowledge his sins and ask for God's forgiveness (2 Samuel 12). The great penitential outpouring of Psalm 51 came as a result of his sins against Uriah, as did the thoughts and emotions expressed in Psalm 32.

David's standing before the Lord and his place in the Messianic line are mentioned in many places. Of all of these, Paul's words in Acts 13:22-23 provide a fitting summary: "[The Lord] raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, 'I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.' Of this man's offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised."

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28 December 2007
  + The Holy Innocents +
28 December, New Testament

Holy InnocentsThis day commemorates the slaughter of Bethlehem's children by Herod the Great (Matthew 2:16-18), as he attempted to destroy the Usurper to his throne.

Herod, his jealousy inflamed by the account given by the Wise Men (Matthew 2:7), sent his soldiers to kill all the town's boys two years old and younger in order to protect his throne and lineage. This was one of the last major decisions made in a life filled with vainglory and increasing insanity. His plan went awry, since the Lord sent an angel to warn Joseph, who led Jesus and Mary to safety in Egypt, where they stayed until the tyrant's death.

Sword in the HeartThe commemorations of Stephen, John, and the Innocents remind us that not all receive the Gift of Christmas with joy. However, God's plan of salvation spreads in spite of hatred. Even today, much of the world actively rejects the Gospel and persecutes those who preach and live it.

Yet through all the years, the Church has continued to proclaim Christ — Christ incarnate, Christ crucified, Christ resurrected, Christ ascended, Christ returning. The very resistance of the Devil, the hard-hearts of others, and the testimony of our own sinful natures all provide ample evidence of the world's desperate need for His forgiveness. God grant that we faithfully believe and steadfastly confess this saving message, the Good News of forgiveness of sins in Christ Jesus.

Lection

Psalm 54
Jeremiah 31:15-17
Revelation 14:1-5
Matthew 2:13-18

Collect

Almighty God, the martyred innocents of Bethlehem showed forth Your praise not by speaking but by dying. Put to death in us all that is in conflict with Your will that our lives may bear witness to the faith we profess with our lips; through Lord Jesus, our Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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27 December 2007
  + John, Apostle and Evangelist +
27 December, New Testament

St. JohnSaint John, Apostle and Evangelist, a son of Zebedee, was one of the twelve apostles. With his brother James and Simon Peter, he formed an inner circle among the Twelve: Those three beheld the Great Catch of Fish (Luke 5:10), the healing of Peter's mother-in-law (Mark 1:29-31), the raising of Jairus' daughter(Mark 5:37; Luke 8:51), the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1; Mark 9:2; Luke 9:28), and Gethsemane's agony (Matthew 26:37; Mark 14:33).

He expressed willingness to undergo martyrdom (Matthew 20:22; Mark 10:39) — as did the other apostles (Matthew 26:35; Mark 14:31). However, ancient testimony says that even though he was imprisoned and exiled, he was eventually released and died a natural death in Ephesus.

According to Mark 3:17, Jesus gave James and John "the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder." He is credited with the writing three epistles and one Gospel. He is also the probable author of Revelation, although this identification is less certain.

His symbol in ecclesiastical art is usually the eagle. This and the images used for the other evangelists come from the visions of the four living creatures around God's throne in heaven. See the biography of Saint Matthew for the specifics of each.

Lection

Psalm 11
Revelation 1:1-6
1 John 1:1-2:2
John 21:20-25

Collect

Merciful Lord, cast the bright beams of Your light upon Your Church that we, being instructed in the doctrine of Your blessed apostle and evangelist John, may come to the light of everlasting life; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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26 December 2007
  + Stephen, Protomartyr +
26 December, New Testament

St. StephenThe days following Christmas are sometimes called the "Witness Days." The Greek word for "witness" is "martyr," and these days remind us that this sinful world hates the Gospel message of forgiveness in Christ Jesus.

Saint Stephen's Day remembers the first recorded martyr of the Church. Stephen knew the gift of Christmas: His Lord came in human flesh to bring forgiveness and as Jesus forgave His killers, so Stephen forgave those whose stones smashed away his life. The account of his calling, witness, and death is in Acts 6:1-8:2. Notice how closely the martyr's responses echo those of His Savior as each approached death.

In art, Stephen is often represented by the stones which took his life and by the palm branch, an ancient symbol of triumph and, especially in Christianity, of martyrdom. Both stones and branch are prominent in this Carlo Crivelli painting from the Demidoff Altarpiece.

Stephen's feast day supposedly occasioned of a great act of charity by the later martyred Wenceslaus, Kníže of Bohemia. Wenceslaus (or Václav) is remembered in the carol Good King Wenceslaus.

Lection

Psalm 119:137-144
2 Chronicles 24:17-22
Acts 6:8-7:2a, 51-60
Matthew 23:34-39

Collect

Heavenly Father, in the midst of our sufferings for Christ grant us grace to follow the example of the first martyr, Stephen, that we may also look to the One who suffered and was crucified on our behalf and pray for those who do us wrong; through our Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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25 December 2007
  Merry Christmas to You!

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us ... full of grace and truth. John 1:14 ESV

Nativity and Crucifixion
Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.


What Child Is This, Stanza 2

What Child Is This?

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  Many Ways ...

Small Golden Aardvark AawardThis collection of Christmas writings also involves my special holiday bestowal of the Aardies upon some very worthy posters. Anyone so desiring may copy either the large or the small (shown here) Golden Aardvark, a token of having received the Aardvark Aaward for Raillery, Doctrine, or Intellect in Exposition. So ...

Merry Christmas from — and Golden Aardvarks to — a Whole Bunch of Confessional Lutherans:

  A Truly Meaningful Christmas  Ask the Pastor
  Blessed Christmas from the Mad Theologian and her Prediger  Bad Carol
  Merry Christmas  Bailing Water
  Sermons: Eve of Nativity and Nativity  Mason Beecroft
  Farewell Advent and Christmas Thoughts  A Beggar at the Table
  Merry Christmas  Black Cloister
  Have Yourself a Syncretistic Little Christmas  The Blair Church Project
  Sermons: St. Matthew 1:22-23, St. Luke 2:1-20, and St. John 1:1-14  Bloghardt's Reflector
  Merry Christmas, Coptic Style  Blonde Moment
  How Do Atheists Celebrate Christmas and Tale of Two Christmases  The Burr in the Burg
  Christmas in DC  Chaplain Dave's Newsletter
  Merry Christmas!, The Sweetest Part of Christmas, and Children and Icon-like Nativity Scenes  The Children of God
  Merry Christmas!  Cleaving the Darkness
  The Carols of Christmas!  Cleveland Confessional Lutheranism
  Christmas Town in a Time Machine  Concordia Seminary Institute of Lay Vocation: Uwe Siemon-Netto
  God's Weeping, Humanity's Joy and And Is It True?  Confessing Evangelical
  Sermons: Advent 4 and Christmas  Confessional Gadfly
  Cranach's Greatest Christmas Hits: In Defense of the Commercialization of Christmas, The Santa Claus Slap, Why Christmas Is on December 25, and Evidence December 25 Is the Right Day  Cranach
  A Blessed Christmas to All and Christmas Day  Cruce Tectum
  The Word Became Flesh  Rev. Cwirla's Blogosphere
  The Joys of Familial Christmas Service, Christmas Eve Sermon, Christmas Pressure and Fictional Audiences  CyberStones
  A Christmas Carol  Daylight: Rick Ritchie
  Advent & Christ-Mass 2007  de ecclesia et liturgia
  Christmas Ralph  Des Moines 360
  A Less Merry Christmas, Sermon for Christmas Day, and My Christmas Decorations  Drowning Myself Whenever I Can
  Christmas Pictures  Erin-Go-Blog
  Recreating a Christmas Culture, The Word Tabernacled Among Us, O Beautiful Paradox!, Sermon for Christmas Day, Sentimentality v. Contemplation  Esgetology
  From the Angel on Our Tree  Extra Nos
  Sermons: Christmas Eve with Lessons and Carols, Christmas Eve at Midnight Mass, and Nativity of Our Lord  Father Hollywood
  The Wonder of It All  Fishpond
  Music for the Holidays and Christmas Eve Snaps  A Fort Made of Books
  Are Christians Taking the Christ Out of Christmas?  Garden of Gethsemane
  Daddy's Gonna Kill Ralphie  Geek Spaces
  I Am So Glad When Christmas Comes  German-American Lutherans
  The Grammarian, XIII and The Grammarian, XIV  Gottesblog
  Christmas: On Taking Human Form  Heart, Mind, Soul, and Strength
  Christmas Eve and Christmas Mishaps  Homestead Lutheran Academy
  Christmas Is About Getting Stuff  House, M.Div.
  The Month Before Christmas  I Could be Wrong ... but I Doubt It
  I Think This Is Neat  I Shouldn't be Doin' This
  Christmas Sermon  Ichabod
  I Like It's a Wonderful Life  incarnatus est
  Happy Boxing Day  Indiana Jane's Journal
  A Christmas Eve Poem and A Christmas Goose  Jottings and Such
  Merry Christmas! It's Not Just another Holiday  Journalistic Jargon
  The Great Christmas Truce of 2007  Katie's Beer
  The Shepherds See It for Themselves  Kelly's Blog
  Almost Ready  Kirken's Place
  The Reality of Christmas  Laughing Martin
  Merry Christmas Eve  Life with the Suttons
  Tiny Tim Was Right  LongEyeMoose
  Merry Christmas from the Henhouse  Lutheran Hen
  Sermons: The Story of the Ages, Fear Not, and Into Flesh Is Made the Word  The Lutheran Logomaniac
  The Christmas Donkey and Christmas  Lutheran Lucciola
  Merry Christmas Everybody  Lutheran Lucy
  De mysteriis incarnationis  Lvtheranvs Latine Profitens
  Christmas Parable  Memorial Lutheran Church: Pastor Murray
  Sermons: Christmas Is Love and Christmas Speaks  The Minnesota Lutheran
  Christmas Past  Mossback Meadow
  Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth, Peace; Good Will Among Men!  Mother Hubbard's Cupboard
  It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas  Muddy Boots
  Born of the Virgin Mary and A Christ-Mass After All  Necessary Roughness
  Christmas Stockings  NightlyKnitter's LotzaStitches
  Songs and Poetry: Her Kommer Dine Arme Smaa, Yuletide in a Younger World, et al.  Norman's Demesne
  Recognizing Him  North Prairie Pastor
  A Christ Mass Hymn (includes links to sermons)  Not Alone
  Reflections on a Christmas Eve Sermon  On the Wittenberg Trail
  Holy Christmas Day  One Lutheran ... Ablog!
  Sermon on Luke 2:1-14  Outer Rim Territories
  December 25  Pagans and Lutherans
  Merry Christmas / Feliz Navidad / Froeliche Weinachten and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas ... Shhh!  Past Elder
  Jesse Tree December 24  Pistol Packin' Presbytera
  Today  Preachrblog
  My Favorite Xmas Narrative and Frohe Weinachten!  Putting Out the Fire
  All Wrapped Up  Quicunque Vult
  Early Christmas Gifts  Rapp Files
  Luther: Christ's Holy Birth Is Our Birth and Two Sermons: Where Is Bethlehem? and God Locates Himself  RAsburry's Res (Stick around for a look at the 6 part series The Doctrine of Bethlehem)
  Cool Christmas Present  Revvin' Rev
  Did You Listen? and John 1:1-14  A Round Unvarnish'd Tale
  A Happy Christmas  St. Antony's Cave
  Christmas Meditations from the Fathers and A Blessed Feast of the Nativity to You  St. James the Hoosier
  Merry Sacrilege and Hodie Christus Natus Est  Die Schreiben von Schreiber
  All I Want for Christmas  Simul Justis et Pecatur
  Laryngitis, A Birthday Story, Carols and Hymns, and Fluxx  Susan's Pendulum
  Christmas  TheoCon
  Kinda Happy, Kinda Sad  Thinking-Out-Loud
  Merry Christmas!  This Side of the Pulpit
  Sermons: Are You Just Along for the Ride? and God Born of Woman; Man Born of God  Three Taverns
  Sermon: Christmas Is Simple  Rev. Tucher
  Christmas Eve and a New Friend  Uneasy Priest
  Binding the Strong Man  Upstate Lutheran
  How Silently, How Silently, the Wondrous Gift Is Giv'n  watersblogged!
  Sermons: Christmas Eve, Luke 2:19 and Christmas Day, Luke 2:1-20  Watt's What
  Feast of the Nativity, Luke's Christmas and John's Christmas, and Christmas Moments  Weedon's Blog
  O Tannenbaum, Merry Christmas!, and On the First Day of Christmas  Wendy & Her Lost Boys
  The Manger  The Wittenberg Catholic
  Christmas and New Year  The Wolf Pack
  20071225 Christ's Mass Day  Worldview

Meanwhile, These People Were Also Writing or Compiling Reflections and Celebrations about Jesus' Birth:

  Matthew 1:18-25  Agnus Day
  My Christmas Post  The Beast's Lair
  How Atheists Celebrate Christmas and Taking Christ Out of Christmas  Dinesh D'Souza
  Annunciation  The Dawn Patrol
  A Christmas Parable in the Heartland, Think Ye Green (and Christ Is Born), For the Life of the World, and Baby Jesus, with a GPS Device  Get Religion
  Three Christmas Stories for the Second Half of Life  Internet Monk
  Merry Christmas from the Jolly's  JollyBlogger
  Merry Christmass  One Apostolic and Catholic Church
  A Wonderful Christmas Story: The Short Version  Pro-Life Blogs
  Christmas Eve and Wishing You Joy at Christmas  Wittingshire
  The Newsletter vs. the Card, Here We Come a Caroling, Christmas Poetry, and Today's Comic  World on the Web

Of Course, Christians Around the Globe, in These and Other Languages, Have a Similar Message of Joy:

International Christmas Greetings

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  Many Times ...
(Merry Christmas!)
(Merry Christmas!)
(Merry Christmas!)
(Merry Christmas!)
(Merry Christmas!)
(Merry Christmas!)
(Merry Christmas!)

Xmas Trees
(Merry Christmas!)
(Merry Christmas!)
(Merry Christmas!)
(Merry Christmas!)
(Merry Christmas!)
(Merry Christmas!)
(Merry Christmas!)


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  Although It's Been Said ...
(Merry Christmas!)
Carolers

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23 December 2007
  The Art of Emmanuel
A "Panel" Discussion

Pastor Cwirla has not only written about the O Antiphons, he also offers pictures of worship panels based upon each antiphon. Speaking of O Antiphons showcases the ecclesiastical art of Judy Greenlees as it often hangs on the walls of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Hacienda Heights, California.

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  O Emmanuel
O God with Us

O EmmanuelWe now arrive at the seventh and final O Antiphon, including related Scriptures, Latin text and English translation, a Latin hymn stanza, and the English versification from the hymn known as O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

O Emmanuel, Rex et legisfer noster, expectatio gentium, et Salvator erum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine Deus noster.

℣ O Emmanuel, our King and our Lord, the Anointed for the nations and their | Savior:*
Come and save us, O | Lord our God.

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)" See also Isaiah 8:6-8; Matthew 1:23; Haggai 2:7 (KJV).

Veni Veni, Emmanuel Captivum solve Israel,
Qui gemit in exsilio, Privatus Dei Filio.


O come, O come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel!

Read the final daily meditations from the O Antiphons by Pastor Cwirla and Pastor Weedon.

Previous posts in the series:

Come, Lord Jesus: The O Antiphons
O Sapientia — O Wisdom
O Adonai — O Lord and Ruler
O Radix Jesse — O Root of Jesse
O Clavis David — O Key of David
O Oriens — O Dayspring
O Rex Gentium — O King of the Nations

Ero Cras!

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are quoted from the ESV®

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22 December 2007
  O Rex Gentium
O King of the Nations (King of the Gentiles)

O Rex GentiumThis brings us to the sixth O Antiphon. Again, Latin text and English translation, a Latin hymn stanza, and the English versification from the hymn known as O Come, O Come, Emmanuel are included.

O Rex gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unem:
veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.

℣ O King of the Nations, the Ruler they long for, the Cornerstone uniting all | people:*
Come and save us all, whom You formed | out of clay.

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:5)" Also, "He 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. (Isaiah 2:4)." See also Revelation 15:3; Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 28:16; Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; Ephesians 2:19-21; 1 Peter 2:6.

Veni, Veni, Rex Gentium, Veni, Redemptor omnium,
Ut salvas tuos famulos Peccati sibi conscios.


Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease, And be Thyself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel!

Read today's comments on O Rex Gentium from Pastors Bill Cwirla and William Weedon.

Scripture quoted from the ESV®

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