Third Sunday of Advent

Sunday, December 17, 2017
Year (cycle): 
B
The Collect: 

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Old Testament: 
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

1The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; 2to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.

4They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. 8For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. 9Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed.

10I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

Psalm: 
Psalm 126 or Canticle 3 or Canticle 15

1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, *
       then were we like those who dream.
2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, *
       and our tongue with shouts of joy.
3 Then they said among the nations, *
      "The Lord has done great things for them."
4 The Lord has done great things for us, *
       and we are glad indeed.
5 Restore our fortunes, O Lord, *
       like the watercourses of the Negev.
6 Those who sowed with tears *
       will reap with songs of joy.
7 Those who go out weeping, carrying the seed, *
       will come again with joy, shouldering their sheaves.

or

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.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
       as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Epistle: 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

16Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise the words of prophets, 21but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 22abstain from every form of evil.

23May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.

Gospel: 
John 1:6-8, 19-28

6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.

19This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” 21And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’” as the prophet Isaiah said. 24Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?”26John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” 28This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.

The Old Testament, New Testament and Gospels readings are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Collects, Psalms and Canticles are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.

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