The Fourth Sunday of Advent
Sunday, December 24, 2023
Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Ever-faithful God, through prophets and angels you promised to raise up a holy child who would establish a household of peace and justice. Open our hearts to receive your Son, that we may open our doors to welcome all people as sisters and brothers, and establish your household in our time. Amen.
The Old Testament Lesson:
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16 KJV
And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies;
2 That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.
3 And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the Lord is with thee.
4 And it came to pass that night, that the word of the Lord came unto Nathan, saying,
5 Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the Lord, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?
6 Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle.
7 In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar?
8 Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel:
9 And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth.
10 Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime,
11 And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the Lord telleth thee that he will make thee an house.
16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
Luke 1:46-55 KJV
The Song of Mary
46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,*
47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden:*
for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things;*
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is on them that fear him*
from generation to generation.
51 He hath shewed strength with his arm;*
he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats,*
and exalted them of low degree.
53 He hath filled the hungry with good things;*
and the rich he hath sent empty away.
54 He hath helped his servant Israel,*
in remembrance of his mercy;
55 As he spake to our fathers,*
to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26 KJV
I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever:*
with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.
2 For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever:*
thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.
3 I have made a covenant with my chosen,*
I have sworn unto David my servant,
4 Thy seed will I establish for ever,*
and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.
19 Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty;*
I have exalted one chosen out of the people.
20 I have found David my servant;*
with my holy oil have I anointed him:
21 With whom my hand shall be established:*
mine arm also shall strengthen him.
22 The enemy shall not exact upon him;*
nor the son of wickedness afflict him.
23 And I will beat down his foes before his face,*
and plague them that hate him.
24 But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him:*
and in my name shall his horn be exalted.
25 I will set his hand also in the sea,*
and his right hand in the rivers.
26 He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father,*
my God, and the rock of my salvation.
Romans 16:25-27 KJV
25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.
Luke 1:26-38 KJV
26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.