Saint Alban's Anglican Church

Committed to sharing Christ's Commandments: To love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves, through worship, education and outreach.

Fourth Sunday of Advent

12/23/2012 - Advent Service

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Celebrant - Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent, the Sunday of Love.

First Voice - Jesus shows us God's perfect love. He is God's perfect love in human form. Those who believe in him and live in him, live in love. Love transforms and perfects all things. It never ends.

Second Voice - We light these candles today to remind us that God is love. We thank God for hope he gives us, for the peace he bestows, for the joy he pours into our hearts, and for the love that redeems us and shows us the way.

Light the First, Second, Third and Fourth Candle

Together - Let us pray -- O God of Love, Emmanuel, send your light into our hearts at this time. Help us to be ready for the time of Christ's appearing. Grant that we may so dwell in him that his perfect love fills our entire being. Make our worship a time in which we celebrate your love and are made ready to show that love to the whole world - both today - and forevermore. Amen.

Old Testament Lesson

Micah 5:2-4
5:2 But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
   who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
   one who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
   from ancient days.
3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time
   when she who is in labour has brought forth;
then the rest of his kindred shall return
   to the people of Israel.
4 And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the LORD,
   in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great
   to the ends of the earth;

Psalm 80

Psalm 80
1Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph like a flock; *
shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim.
2In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh, *
stir up your strength and come to help us.
3Restore us, O God of hosts; *
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
4O LORD God of hosts, *
how long will you be angered
    despite the prayers of your people?
5You have fed them with the bread of tears; *
you have given them bowls of tears to drink.
6You have made us the derision of our neighbors, *
and our enemies laugh us to scorn.
7Restore us, O God of hosts; *
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
8You have brought a vine out of Egypt; *
you cast out the nations and planted it.
9You prepared the ground for it; *
it took root and filled the land.
10The mountains were covered by its shadow *
and the towering cedar trees by its boughs.
11You stretched out its tendrils to the Sea *
and its branches to the River.
12Why have you broken down its wall, *
so that all who pass by pluck off its grapes?
13The wild boar of the forest has ravaged it, *
and the beasts of the field have grazed upon it.
14Turn now, O God of hosts, look down from heaven;
    behold and tend this vine; *
preserve what your right hand has planted.
15They burn it with fire like rubbish; *
at the rebuke of your countenance let them perish.
16Let your hand be upon the man of your right hand, *
the son of man you have made so strong for yourself.
17And so will we never turn away from you; *
give us life, that we may call upon your Name.
18Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; *
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

New Testament Lesson

Hebrews 10:5-10
10:5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
''Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
   but a body you have prepared for me;
6 in burnt-offerings and sin-offerings
   you have taken no pleasure.
7 Then I said, ""See, God, I have come to do your will, O God""
   (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).''
8 When he said above, ''You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt-offerings and sin-offerings'' (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, ''See, I have come to do your will.'' He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. 10 And it is by God''s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.


Luke 1:39-56
1:39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.41 When Elizabeth heard Mary''s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabethwas filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, ''Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.''

46 And Mary said,
''My soul magnifies the Lord,
47   and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
48 for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
   Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
   and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him
   from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
   he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
   and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
   and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
   in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
   to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.''

56 And Mary remained with her for about three months and then returned to her home.


New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of Ameria. Used by permission. All rights reserved.