4th Sunday of Advent, 20 December: Micah 5:1-4a; Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-45 ~ you are blessed

Fourth Sunday of Advent

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

Opening Prayer:

God our Redeemer, who prepared the blessed Virgin Mary to be the mother of Your Son: Grant that, as she looked for His coming as our Savior, so we may be ready to greet Him when He comes again as our Judge; who is alive and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
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Hymn: “O Come All Ye Faithful” – Casting Crowns


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A Reading from the Old Testament: Micah 5:1-4a (NLT)

Mobilize! Marshal your troops! The enemy is laying siege to Jerusalem. They will strike Israel’s leader in the face with a rod.

Bethlehem Market Place in 1900 Munir Alawi

Bethlehem Market Place in 1900
Munir Alawi

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf. The people of Israel will be abandoned to their enemies until the woman in labor gives birth. Then at last his fellow countrymen will return from exile to their own land.

And he will stand to lead his flock with the Lord’s strength, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
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A Reading from Psalms: Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19 (NLT)

Show us your mighty power. Come to rescue us! Turn us again to yourself, O God. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved.
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… that you yourself have planted, this son you have raised for yourself. For we are chopped up and burned by our enemies. May they perish at the sight of your frown.
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Then we will never abandon you again. Revive us so we can call on your name once more. Turn us again to yourself, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved.
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“Restoration (Psalm 80)” – James Block


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A Reading from the Letters: Hebrews 10:5-10 (NLT)

That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God,

“You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer. You were not pleased with burnt offerings or other offerings for sin. Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God — as is written about me in the Scriptures.’”

First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.
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A Reading from the Gospels: Luke 1:39-45 (NLT)

"Visitation" Mariotto Albertinelli, 1503 Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.

“Visitation”
Mariotto Albertinelli, 1503
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.

A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”
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Hymn: “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem”


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Intercessions:

God our Savior: we pray for the Church and for the world.

+ For all who fear God and believe in You, Lord Christ – that our divisions may cease, and that all may be one as You and the Father are one…. Lord, hear our prayer.
+ For those who do not yet believe, and for those who have lost their faith – that they may receive the light of the Gospel…. Lord, hear our prayer.
+ For the peace of the world – that a spirit of respect and forbearance may grow among nations and peoples…. Lord, hear our prayer.
+ For those in positions of public trust – that they may serve justice, and promote the dignity and freedom of every person…. Lord, hear our prayer.
+ For the poor, the persecuted, the sick, and all who suffer; for refugees, prisoners, and all who are in danger – that they may be relieved and protected…. Lord, hear our prayer.
+ For our faith communities – that we may be delivered from hardness of heart, and show forth thy glory in all that we do…. Lord, hear our prayer.
+ For all who have commended themselves to our prayers; for our families, friends, and neighbors – that being freed from anxiety, they may live in joy, peace, and health…. Lord, hear our prayer.
+ For all who have died in Christ, and those whose faith is known to thee alone – that, with all the saints, they may have rest in that place where there is no pain or grief, but life eternal…. Lord, hear our prayer.

Rejoicing in the fellowship of all the saints, we commend ourselves, and one another, and all our life to Christ our God…. For Yours is the majesty, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, now and for ever. Amen.
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Hymn: “O Little Town of Bethlehem” – King’s College Choir


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Benediction:

(May you) grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)

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



Categories: Life around the World, Life in America, Life in Christ

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