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Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Advent

As we are now in the Fourth Week of Advent, our Gospel readings are from Luke 1, bringing to us the birth narrative as we walk with Mary and Joseph to Christmas.It is worth noting that on this day, Martin Luther’s beloved wife and “rib,” Katie, entered the Church triumphant. Katie lived in Wittenberg after Luther’s death until 1552, when she traveled to Torgau to escape an outbreak of the Black Plague. She was thrown from her cart into a watery ditch near the city gates. She was taken into the city where she died on this date, December 20, 1552, at the age of 53. She was buried at Saint Mary’s Church in Torgau. Although Luther lovingly referred to her as “My Lord Katie,” it is clear there was deep love and affection between Luther and his competent and capable partner in faith and in marriage.
It is certainly fitting that on this day of Katie’s commemoration we are reading of Gabriel’s visit, announcing that Mary would conceive of the Holy Spirit and give birth to a son who would be Son of the Most High God — the Word become flesh to dwell among us, full of grace and truth. Next to the doctrine of our redemption — that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection — Luther held the incarnation to be next in importance. For if God had not become man, there would be no forgiveness, life and Salvation through Christ Jesus! No wonder Luther so loved the nativity of our Lord and celebrated the Christ-mass so devotedly!
As we celebrate the miracle of Christmas, remember the words of Gabriel — “For nothing will be impossible with God!” May that assurance guide your days this week.
Consider lighting a candle in remembrance of Katie and Martin Luther and in thanksgiving for the impossible, improbable gift of God’s Son, our Savior — the Word made flesh to dwell among us!

Prayer: O God, we give thanks for Your servant Katie Luther, who supported the work of renewing Your Church in the light of Your Word made flesh. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Devotion written by The Rev. Dr. David M. Wendel

“Katherina von Bora Luther, 1552”, O Clavis David/O Key of David

This daily prayer and Bible reading guide, Devoted to Prayer (based on Acts 2:42), was conceived and prepared by the Rev. Andrew S. Ames Fuller, director of communications for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). After several challenging years in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been provided with a unique opportunity to revitalize the ancient practice of daily prayer and Scripture reading in our homes. While the Reading the Word of God three-year lectionary provided a much-needed and refreshing calendar for our congregations to engage in Scripture reading, this calendar includes a missing component of daily devotion: prayer. This guide is to provide the average layperson and pastor with the simple tools for sorting through the busyness of their lives and reclaiming an act of daily discipleship with their Lord. The daily readings follow the Lutheran Book of Worship two-year daily lectionary, which reflect the church calendar closely. The commemorations are adapted from Philip H. Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, a proposed common calendar of the saints that builds from the Lutheran Book of Worship, but includes saints from many of those churches in ecumenical conversation with the NALC. The introductory portion is adapted from Christ Church (Plano)’s Pray Daily. Our hope is that this calendar and guide will provide new life for congregations learning and re-learning to pray in the midst of a difficult and changing world.

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