Week 4: Fourth Sunday of Advent: Arrival

When Joseph determined to quietly break his engagement with Mary (his betrothed wife) because of her pregnancy, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. The angel reassured him that Mary’s pregnancy was caused by the Holy Spirit, and she would bear a son, and they would call him Jesus, because he would save his people from their sins. Isaiah prophesied that a virgin would bear a son and they would call his name Immanuel, meaning God with us. Joseph did as the angel commanded, took Mary as his wife, and when the baby was born, he called his name Jesus.

Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation

Almighty God, we give thee thanks for the mighty yearning of the human heart for the coming of a Saviour, and the constant promise of thy Word that he was to come. In our own souls we repeat the humble aspirations of ancient men and ages, and we acknowledge that our souls are in darkness and infirmity without faith in him who comes to bring God to man and man to God. Out of our very sense of need our hearts answer from their wilderness, the cry, Prepare ye the way of the Lord. In us let the rough places be made smooth, the crooked straight, the mountains of pride be brought low, the valleys of despondency be lifted up. Prepare thou thy way in our hearts, that we may welcome anew thy Holy Child. Hosanna! Blessed be he who cometh in the name of the Lord. Amen.

~ Gelasian Sacramentary. James Ferguson and Charles L. Wallis, eds. Prayers for Public Worship: A Service Book of Morning and Evening Prayers Following the Course of the Christian Year. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1958. p. 21-22.

Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, amen.

Te Deum Laudamus 
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.

Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)

Gloria Patri
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.

Chronological Reading for the Day

An annual reading through the Bible in the order in which the events took place

Sunday: Job 12-14

Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 80.1-7, 17-19
OT: Isa. 7.10-16
Gospel: Matt. 1.18-25
NT: Rom. 1.1-7

(Click here for all readings)
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling

The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).

Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.

Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.

Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)

Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.


O eternal God, the creator and preserver of all mankind, who carest for thy human children of every race and nation; make haste, we beseech thee, to help us, for our transgressions have overtaken us; we are compassed about with many and great evils, till we know not where to turn. Look upon us in thy compassion, and come speedily to our aid. Bring us to repentance for the sins which we have all committed against thee, that thou mayest forgive us our sins, and form a right spirit within us, and guide our feet into the way of peace. Put to shame those who would make darkness to be light and light to be darkness. Confound those in whom lust for wealth or power is threatening the world with new disasters. Open the eyes of those who are blinded by ignorance, fear, or prejudice. In thy great mercy bring good tidings to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, set at liberty the oppressed, and fill with rejoicing all workers of good. Let the whole earth be filled with thy praise, O Lord, heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God; and unto thee be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.

~ Earnest Fremont Tittle. A Book of Pastoral Prayers. New York, NY: Abington-Cokesbury Press, 1946. p. 52-53.

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
We glorify you, O God, for the Virgin-born child of Mary, he who will save his people from their sins. His name is Jesus, and he is our Savior.

“More fundamentally, the Bible tells us that God must draw us into relationship with himself before we can respond to him acceptably. The worship provisions of the Old Testament are presented as an expression of the covenant relationship established by God between himself and Israel. Similarly, in the New Testament, worship theology is intimately connected with the establishment and outworking of the new covenant. Acceptable worship under both covenants is a matter of responding to God’s initiative in salvation and revelation, and doing so in the way that he requires.”

~ David G. Peterson, Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992. p. 19.

Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
Emmanuel, God with Us, Matthew 1.18-25

Book Reading
Peterson, Engaging with God

Special Church Year Service
Christmas Eve: Saturday, December 24, 2022