She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1)

Merry Christmas. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Happy New Year! Where did 2015 go? Time keeps marching on. Are you looking forward to 2016? Will this year be a good year or will more challenges come your way?

Be of Good cheer. The Savior Jesus Christ has come for you. When it comes to time—look to the One who is timeless. 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. (Galatians 4)

For sinners—time marching on brings—more sins. You have been sinned against—both the giver of sin and receiver of sins. This is the nature of sinners. What to do with all this sin over the past year? Repent—Repent of your sins—give them to Jesus. The Savior has come to bear all your sins—put it on the Lord’s account. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (Romans 4)


Jesus took all your hurt, all your failures, all the horrific things done this past year. Jesus took them to the Cross. Jesus has died for you. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. Jesus answers for all your sin—every sin and every sinner. Your sins are finished—you have been set free to live in the life giving blood of Christ.

The good stuff of life comes with God’s blessings through faith in Christ. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10)

Jesus has risen over the grave! Christ comes to you in Holy Baptism with promises—for you to believe and trust in Him. Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved. (Mark 16) Jesus puts His Name on you in Baptism—you receive adoption as God’s children. Members of the family of God. 2016—New Year—with same promises going forth into your life. Jesus brings you life without end. Life eternally in Christ. “Behold, I am making all things new.”…..“It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

What will 2016 bring? I don’t know. But what is sure and certain—is living in God’s promises fulfilled in Jesus Christ for you. How to face the New Year? With faith in Christ Jesus our Lord. The promises of God bring you blessings eternal. God promises to go with you into this New Year living in Christ. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us.)

Christ makes all things New. New Year is upon us. The Baptized Child of God can live in boldness and confidence in the Lord’s Promises. This New Year is lived in Jesus’ presence. The Lord is rich in mercy and grace to you His Children. Blessed New Year! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

896 Now Greet the Swiftly Changing Year (vs. 1, 3)

Now greet the swiftly changing year
With joy and penitence sincere.
Rejoice! Rejoice! With thanks embrace
Another year of grace.
This Jesus came to end sin’s war;
This Name of names for us He bore.
Rejoice! Rejoice! With thanks embrace
Another year of grace.

- Pastor Berndt