Two thousand years ago, God’s people were expecting the Messiah to be a conquering hero who would rescue them from their Roman oppressors. Instead, he came as a suffering servant who died at the hands of those Romans. This is what Paul called the foolishness of the cross. But the Bible makes it clear that the Jesus those people received—the Jesus we are blessed to call our Savior today—is far greater than any we could ever have designed on our own. These devotions will show us that he truly is the Savior we need.
Options for viewing the devotions below will become available as we approach Holy Week:
The Mysteries of Christmas: Many Millennia, Many Mysteries, One Messiah (Advent 2023)
The coming of Jesus has always been shrouded in mystery. In his first coming, as a baby in Bethlehem, thousands of years of mysterious promises were resolved and realized—and not always in ways God’s people expected. His second coming—at the End of All Things—is also shrouded in mystery. No one even knows the day or hour he’ll reappear. These 25 meditations look back on the mysteries of the Messiah’s first coming and look ahead to the mysteries of his second.
Word Made Flesh: The Historical Reality of Christmas (Advent 2022)
This Advent, discover how the Gospels of John the Elder and Luke the Historian record the details of the incarnation—God becoming man—in our booklet, Word Made Flesh: The Historical Reality of Christmas. Each devotion is prompted by a question about the historical accuracy of the Christmas account. Each reminds us that Christmas is not a sweet children’s story or fairy tale. It is a historical event. In our skeptical times, John and Luke help us reaffirm the objective reality of Christmas.
In these 25 devotions for December 1-25, we’ll first explore the ways Christians have seen Christ in the Old Testament appearances of “the glory of the LORD” and “the angel of the LORD.” Then we’ll look at New Testament passages that take up the theme of Christ’s glory as well. Perhaps the apostle John’s words say it best: 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.
The Jesse Tree is MLC’s newest Advent devotion book. Similar to an Advent calendar, the booklet contains 25 devotions accompanied by 25 ornaments you can hang on your Christmas tree or on a “Jesse tree” of your own making.
Enjoy this new booklet that retells the Old Testament stories leading to the birth of our Savior, Jesus, who was a descendant of King David and David’s father, Jesse: “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.”
The Jesse Tree – supplementary materials (Advent 2020)
Children’s Stories: These have been carefully crafted for younger children by Martin Luther College education majors. Each includes a clear connection from the Old Testament story to our Savior Jesus.
Printable ornaments: Available in color and blackline.
Click here to download children’s stories and printable ornaments, or request a copy of cardstock ornaments for your family or classroom.
Christ Is the World’s Light (Advent 2019)
The 25 Advent devotions, one for every day December 1-25, can accompany the lighting of the candles in a traditional Advent wreath. Our anticipation will grow as we study more Scripture and light another candle each week of December: the Prophecy Candle, the Bethlehem Candle, the Shepherds’ Candle, the Angels’ Candle, and the Christ Candle.
The Coming of Christ: Promise Made, Promise Kept (Advent 2015)
The 25 devotions in this booklet were authored by current students at MLC, as well as pastors, teachers, staff ministers, and lay leaders who have studied at MLC. They are intended for use December 1-25.
The 13 devotions in this booklet were authored by President Zarling and 12 MLC graduates serving throughout the synod’s 12 districts. They are intended for use from Christmas Day through Epiphany (Dec 25-Jan 6).
7 + 1 Words from the Heart of God (Holy Week 2023)
In these devotions, we’ll ponder Christ’s seven words from the cross— plus an additional Easter word. As Jesus suffers, what are his thoughts bent toward? What is he most concerned about? What is he personally experiencing? His own words give us a glimpse into the heart of the omnipotent God himself, who somehow feels sorrow and suffering as he defeats sorrow and suffering. Some of Jesus’ words are somber. Some are sublime. Others signify victory. And all of them matter.
In these eight devotions, the prophet Isaiah introduces the Messiah as God’s Suffering Servant. Our Lenten “watch” will turn the spotlight on that Servant in his hour of suffering—the pain and scorn heaped on him, the antagonism of enemies, and the faithlessness of friends.
These eight Holy Week devotions lead us deeper into the truths of Jesus’ love for us through the poetry, imagery, and music of Lent and Easter hymns. Links embedded in the devotions will allow you to hear the hymns performed for you by MLC College Choir, College Chorale, Women’s Choir, Männerchor, Wind Symphony, Hosanna Ringers, and Professor Craig Hirschmann on the organ.
I Shall Not Die, But Live (Reformation 500)
This devotion booklet was created in 2017 in celebration of the Reformation 500. It contains 31 uplifting messages as a gift from the Martin Luther College campus family. We pray that our Lord would strengthen your faith through his Word.