Fourth Sunday of Advent

Sunday, December 20, 2015
Year (cycle): 
C
The Collect: 

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.

Old Testament: 
Micah 5:2-5a

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;
5 and he shall be the one of peace.

Psalm: 
Canticle 15 -- The Song of Mary (Luke 1:46-55) or Psalm 80:1-7

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
     for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
    the Almighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
    in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
    he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
    and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
    for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
    to Abraham and his children for ever.

or

1 Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph like a flock; *
      shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim.
2 In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh, *
     stir up your strength and come to help us.
3 Restore us, O God of hosts; *
     show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
4 O Lord God of hosts, *
     how long will you be angered
     despite the prayers of your people?
5 You have fed them with the bread of tears; *
     you have given them bowls of tears to drink.
6 You have made us the derision of our neighbors, *
     and our enemies laugh us to scorn.
7 Restore us, O God of hosts; *
     show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

Epistle: 
Hebrews 10:5-10

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).’
8When 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), 9then he added, ‘See, I have come to do your will.’ He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. 10And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Gospel: 
Luke 1:39-45, (46-55)

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