4th Sunday in Advent: Isaiah 7:10-14; Psalm 24:1-6; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-24 ~ Good News for you

THE SEASON OF ADVENT: please see resources below.

During Advent, we prepare for the celebration of Christmas – remembering that God sent His Son into our world… because He loved us.

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening sentence:

AdventCandlesBokeh

The Good News is about his Son; He is Jesus Christ our Lord.  And you are included among those who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. You are loved by God and called to be His own holy people.

A Reading from the Old Testament: Isaiah 7:10-14 (NLT)

Later, the Lord sent this message to King Ahaz: “Ask the Lord your God for a sign of confirmation, Ahaz. Make it as difficult as you want—as high as heaven or as deep as the place of the dead.”

But the king refused. “No,” he said, “I will not test the Lord like that.”

Then Isaiah said, “Listen well, you royal family of David! Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience? Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well? All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).

A Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 24:1-6 (NLT)

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths.

Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their savior. Such people may seek you and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob.

A Reading from Paul’s Letter to the Church in Rome: Romans 1:1-7 (NLT)

This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.

And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

A Reading from the Gospels: Matthew 1:18-24 (NLT)

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.

Intercessions:

Heavenly Father: During these final days before the celebration of Christmas, help me to pause and reflect on the significance of Your Son, Jesus, coming into our world…. In Your mercy, hear my prayers:

Lord Jesus – You offer peace to the world… but even in the country of Your birth there is continuing conflict.

+ I pray for the peace and goodwill of the Middle East, of Israel, and of Jerusalem in particular. Protect Your people and offer them Your comfort and deliverance from evil – especially those who suffer great persecution for their faith and trust in You.
In Your mercy, Lord, hear my prayers.

Lord Jesus – You bring Your Spirit to the world… yet our society is characterized by consumerism, entertainment and the pursuit of wealth and pleasure – all distracting from this gift.

+ I pray for those of us who live in a world of abundance and plenty – give us a spirit of contentment and generosity. May we Hear the cries of those who are destitute beyond our imagination – and may we be guided by Your Spirit in our giving.
In Your mercy, Lord, hear my prayers.

Lord Jesus – You revealed the love of God by entering our world in humility as a baby… a love which can also be seen in the miracle of every new-born child.

+ I pray for every mother and child – born, unborn, and about to be born – and especially those children who were unplanned, or unexpected. Fill their parents with Your love and enable them to see the miracle and wonder of new life… and Your plan and purpose for every child.
In Your mercy, Lord, hear my prayers.

Lord Jesus – You offer inspiration and support to all as we face the challenges of each day.

+ I pray for my family… and friends… and neighbors – You know their needs, the burdens they carry, and the cries of their hearts. Come to them in this season of advent… reveal Yourself to them. Open their eyes and ears and hearts to Your presence among us. Show Yourself to them in things big and small… and may this season be a time of encouragement, faith, and growth.
In Your mercy, Lord, hear my prayers.

Lord Jesus – You bring new life to the world, and raise the dead to eternal life.

+ I pray for all those who mourn the loss of loved ones – especially those who have died in You. Comfort them in their loss, and give them the certain hope of resurrection and reunion in eternity.
In Your mercy, Lord, hear my prayers.

God of love and goodness, of wonder and mystery, You will and desire that all people be saved and come to recognise the value of your liberating grace. Move with power among us and prepare us to share in your goodness, mercy and grace through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Hymn: “Lo, How a Rose Ere Blooming”

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming / From tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming / As men of old have sung.
It came, a flower bright, Amid the cold of winter
When half-gone was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it, The Rose I have in mind:
With Mary we behold it, The virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright / She bore to men a Savior
When half-gone was the night.

This Flower, whose fragrance tender / With sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor / The darkness everywhere.
True man, yet very God, From sin and death He saves us
And lightens every load

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

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THE SEASON OF ADVENT: + Online Advent Calendar – US Catholic Conference of Bishops + Online Advent Calendar for Adults – Loyola Press + Busted Halo’s Surprise Advent Calendar + 2013 Advent Devotion Apps, eBooks and More! | ChurchMag