4th Sunday of Advent

Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

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 saviour, so we may be ready to greet him when he comes again as our judge; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

A reading from the prophet Micah, chapter 5, verses 2 to 5a

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Therefore, Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labour bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.

He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.  And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth; and he will be our peace.

 

A reading from the letter to the Hebrews, chapter 10, verses 5 to 10

Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.  Then I said, ‘Here I am - it is written about me in the scroll - I have come to do your will, my God.’ ”  First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” - though they were offered in accordance with the law.  Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.”  He sets aside the first to establish the second.  And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

A reading from Luke’s gospel, chapter 1, verses 39 to 45 [46 to 55]

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the child you will bear!  But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her!”

[And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.  From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is his name.  His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.  He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.  He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.  He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.  He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”]

Post Communion Collect

Heavenly Father, who chose the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the mother of the promised saviour; fill us your servants with your grace, that in all things we may embrace your holy will and with her rejoice in your salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen