Advent 2019
Jesus is Immanuel, God with us in the Flesh to Atone for Sins on the Cross,
and Immanuel in His Word and Sacraments to Forgive Sins and Save.
     During the Season of Advent Concordia will mediate on the Messianic Prophecy Isaiah 7:14Isaiah 7:14 reads:
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive,and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
     Christ was born of the Virgin St. Mary in order to give to men a pure conception 
and birth.  After the fall of Adam, all men are conceived in sin.  Because men are conceived in sin, all men have death tugging at their sleeve from the womb and die.
     Christ, however, was not conceived in sin because He was born of the Virgin St. Mary, as the prophet Isaiah has already noted.  Likewise, the prophet Jeremiah writes of the Virgin Birth of Christ:
How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.  (Jeremiah 31:22)         
            The “new thing” is the Gospel.  “A woman shall compass a man.”  In other words, just as Adam compassed Eve because she was drawn from Adam’s flesh, so now a woman compasses a Man, namely, the Messiah, because He is born of the Virgin St. Mary.  The Rev. Dr. John Gerhard writes:
The angel says not among [unmarried] maidens but “among women” because of that first promise of Gen. 3:15 that the woman’s seed would bruise the serpent’s head, and Jer. 31:{22}:  “The woman will encompass a man.”  For that very reason Paul says, Gal. 4:4:  “He was born of a woman.”  From this comparison of passages of Scripture, the explanation of the angel’s greeting will become clear.1
            Christ was born of the Virgin St. Mary not for His sake, He, after all, is God and has no need for such experiences, but rather for us in order to give all men a pure birth until life everlasting.  Luther writes:
Christ is born for you and ... his birth is yours, and come to pass for your benefit.  For the Gospel teaches that Christ was born for our sake and that he did everything and suffered all things for our sake ... .  Christ has a pure, innocent, holy birth.  Man has an impure, sinful, damned birth, as David says in Psalm 51[:5] ... .  There is simply no remedy for this except through the pure birth of Christ. ... Christ willed to be born so that we might be born in different manner ... .  In this manner Christ takes to himself our birth and absorbs it in his birth; he present us with his birth so that we become pure and new in it, as if it were our own, so that every Christian might rejoice in this birth of Christ and glory in it no less than if he, too, like Christ, had been born bodily of Mary.2
            Finally, Christ wiped clear our sinful conception and birth by Atoning for the sins of all men on the Cross.  The Apostle St. John writes:
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sins not.  And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:  And he is the propitiation for our sins:  and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.3
            Christ’s First Advent is His Incarnation.  Christ, however, continues to make His Advent to us in His daily Advent in Word and Sacrament, i.e., the Gospel, in order to forgive sins and save.  The Rev. Dr. Luther Reed writes:
Lossius4, the friend of Melancthon5 and the editor of a famous Reformation cantionale, speaks of a threefold advent – his coming in the flesh, his return to judgment, and his daily coming in the ministrations of the Word and Sacraments.6
Luther writes:
Christ came into the flesh to be with us in Baptism and at the Holy Supper.  Every Spirit who is at pains to teach that Christ does everything through the sacraments of God, is glad to hear about Christ, and gives thanks.  For he understand that Christ is his and that He came in the flesh.  Therefore this has been stated emphatically.  Behold, this is the test of a spirit, whether he is of God or of the devil.7 
            Through God’s Word and Sacraments, i.e., the Gospel, Christ is Immanuel, namely, God Graciously with us to forgive sins, save, and give life everlasting, and the resurrection of the body on the Last Day when He returns again in Glory.  The Apostle St. Peter writes:
The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience8 toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ ... .
1The Harmony of the Four Evangelists, Vol. One, Book One, tr. Richard J. Dinda, Malone, TX:  The Center for the Study of Lutheran Orthodoxy, 2009, p. 113, correction in braces added; the original had verse 22, underscore added.
2Marin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 52, pp. 14, 15.
3I John 2:1-2.
4Lossius, Lukas, 1508 (or 1510)-82; assisted in introducing the Reformation to Luenburg; later rector of school in Lueneburg ... .”  Concordia Cyclopedia, eds. Ludwig Fuerbringer, Theodore Engelder, P. E. Kretzmann, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1927, s. v. “Lossius, Lukas”.
5Melancthon (Schwarzerd), Philip; b. February 16, 1497, at Bretten, in Baden ... D. April 19, 1560.”  Concordia Cyclopedia, eds. Ludwig Fuerbringer, Theodore Engelder, P. E. Kretzmann, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1927, p. 450, s. v. “Melancthon (Scharzerd), Philip.” 
6The Rev. Dr. Luther Reed, The Lutheran Liturgy, p. 466, underscore added.
7Luther’s Works, Vol. 30, pp. 285, 286, emphasis added.
8“The Greek word for ‘answer’, as is universally accepted, has in forensic language become a technical term for ‘agreement’.  Contained in the original meaning of the word was the fact that the signing of an agreement began with the question:  ‘Do you solemnly promise?’  This was eventually lost in idiomatic usage so that by this word as legal expression the Greek came to think only of the legal stipulation itself.  And this meaning fits admirably in our passage, the only one in which the word is found in the New Testament.  Baptism is the stipulation, or, to say with Luther, ‘the covenant of a good conscience’ in relation to or with God.  Baptism cleanses the conscience from sin and its guilt, generates a good conscience which looks up to God joyfully and confidently, standing in union and communion with God.  On the basis of this passage from Peter we commonly speak of the baptismal covenant.  Cremer’s explanation keys in with this:  ‘The claim, the title, which a good conscience has to God.’”  The Rev. Dr. George Stoeckhardt, Lectures on the First Epistle of St. Peter, tr. Erwin W. Koehlinger, Ft. Wayne:  Concordia Theological Seminary Press, no date, pp. 165, 166.
9I Peter 3:21.