December 15, 2024 – Third Sunday of Advent

Lectionary Readings   -   Gathering   -  Word  -   Eucharist   -   Sending   -   Music and Art

Lectionary Readings

Zephaniah 3:14–20
Rejoice and sing; God will redeem you and restore your fortunes.

Isaiah 12:2–6
Surely God is my salvation; trust in the Lord and give thanks.

Philippians 4:4–7
Rejoice in the Lord, who is near; pray and receive God’s peace.

Luke 3:7–18
John warns of God’s wrath and proclaims the good news.

— Gathering —

Opening Sentences

God, you are our salvation and trust.
Rejoice in the Lord, for our God is near.
You redeem your people; you restore our fortunes.
Rejoice in the Lord, for our God is near.
You have become for us our strength and salvation.
Rejoice in the Lord, for our God is near.
Let us sing to the Lord,
who has done glorious things.
Let us offer joy, thanks, and praise this day.

Prayer of the Day

God of good news, God of joy,
your Spirit is always at work in our midst.
Your nearness brings life and salvation.
Help us join in the songs of our ancestors
who have declared your mighty works
through the generations.
Let our praise arise with theirs
as we rest in the joy of your arriving presence. Amen.

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song

Thanksgiving For Baptism

At the baptismal font:
The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
Incarnate One,
who claims us as your own
and comes into our lives yet again,
we give you thanks.
Through the waters of baptism
your Spirit prepares the way within us,
reshaping our lives.
Make us ready for the day
when you will scatter those
who take pride in their power,
and bring down from their thrones
those who rule with oppression and injustice,
when you raise up the lowly
and send away empty-handed
those with more than enough.
Open our eyes to see
the joy you are bringing,
that we may sing your praise. Amen.

Confession and Pardon

At the baptismal font:
Trusting in God’s salvation,
faithfulness and merciful love,
let us confess our sin and the sins of the world,
as we lift our voices together.

Merciful God, we confess that,
in the midst of your glorious creation,
we have neglected our role in its care.
We ignore the cries of the hurting and the lonely,
those on the margins
and those who are oppressed.
We focus on our own desires,
while forgetting the needs of our neighbors.
We have not prepared a way for the Lord,
through either our words or our deeds,
neither through our actions nor our thoughts.
Grant us your mercy in forgiveness;
and lead us to act with compassion and justice,
guided by your glorious light.

Lifting water from the font:
Surely God is our salvation!
We will trust in the Lord’s goodness
and will not be afraid.
Know that you are forgiven and be at peace. Amen.

— Word —

Prayer for Illumination

At the lectern or pulpit:
God of hope,
who never lets us go,
draw near to us
in these ancient words.
By your Holy Spirit
may we be filled,
lifted up,
and leveled
as you prepare in our hearts
the path of your coming. Amen.


Before the readings:
As God has spoken through the prophets,
God speaks now to us.
Hear the word of the Lord.
Luke 1:70

After the readings:
This is the promise of God
to our ancestors and to us.
Thanks be to God.
Luke 1:72


Ascription of Praise

After the sermon:
Blessed be the Lord. Amen.
Luke 1:68

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song

Affirmation of Faith

Out of Israel, God in due time raised up Jesus.
His faith and obedience were the response
of the perfect child of God.
He was the fulfillment
of God’s promise to Israel,
the beginning of the new creation,
and the pioneer of the new humanity.
He gave history its meaning and direction
and called the church to be his servant
for the reconciliation of the world.
Adapted from the Confession of 1967, 9.19

Prayers of Intercession

Trusting in the steadfast love of the Lord,

let us pray for the fulfillment of God’s promises,

saying: Emmanuel, come; O come and save us.  

We pray for the church . . .

Help us to bear fruit worthy of repentance,

seeking what is true, fair, and right,

and proclaiming your good news to all.

Emmanuel, come; O come and save us.

We pray for the world . . .

Remove all disaster and destruction from us;

bring oppressors and enemies to justice

and restore the fortunes of the poor.

Emmanuel, come; O come and save us. 

We pray for this community . . .

Enable those who live in fear and danger

to trust in you and not be afraid.

Be near to all who call on your name.

Emmanuel, come; O come and save us.

We pray for loved ones . . .

Guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus

so that they may know your peace, O God,

the peace that passes understanding.

Emmanuel, come; O come and save us. 

Come quickly, Emmanuel, in power and glory,

to establish your realm of justice and peace;

and make us ready, on the day of redemption,

to stand before you, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

— Eucharist —

Invitation to Offering

At the communion table:
Rejoicing in the Lord always,
we give thanks for the Word made flesh.
With grateful hearts
let us offer our whole selves to God.

Prayer of Dedication

At the communion table:
God Most High, receive the gifts of our lives
as an offering of gratitude for your grace.
Overshadow us with your Holy Spirit
and let it be with us according to your word,
for nothing is impossible with you. Amen.
Luke 1:35–38; 1 Corinthians 1:4

Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Blessed are you, O Lord our God:
You are our song!
We rejoice and sing to you with gladness,
for you have renewed us by your love,
restoring the fortunes of the lost,
gathering up the broken and despised,
and giving them a home in glory.

Therefore we praise you, joining the song
of the universal church and the heavenly choir:
A Sanctus (“Holy, holy, holy”) is sung.

Blessed is Jesus Christ, our Savior:
Through Jesus Christ,
and by the gift of the Holy Spirit,
you have made us children of Abraham and Sarah,
calling us to live with faithfulness,
justice, and compassion.

The words of institution are included here.

Remembering your goodness and grace,
we offer ourselves to you with gratitude
as we share this joyful feast.

A Memorial Acclamation
(e.g., “Christ has died”) is sung.

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us
and upon this bread and cup;
make us one in the body and blood
of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Guard our hearts and minds
by the power of Christ Jesus.
Speak to our anxieties
with the peace that passes understanding
and let our gentleness and joy
be a sign of Christ’s gracious presence.

Through the Lord Jesus Christ,
in the unity of the Spirit,
we bless you, God of glory,
now and forever.
An Amen is sung.

Lord’s Prayer


Breaking the Bread


Communion of the People


Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song

Prayer after Communion

At the communion table:
God, our Provision,
we rejoice that you satisfy our needs.
By your presence in this meal
you have fed us and strengthened us,
as a mother nourishes her baby.
In this waiting season
fill us with hopeful expectation
that we may see the signs of your kingdom
all around us and rejoice
in your coming salvation and glory. Amen.

— Sending —

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song


Blessing and Charge

At the doors of the church:
May the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding,
guard your hearts and minds
in Christ Jesus. Alleluia!
Philippians 4:7

Rejoice in the Lord always.
Again I say, Rejoice!
The Lord is near. Amen. 
Philippians 4:4–5

Still Life of Flowers and Grapes

Jan Van Kessel I

Additional Materials

Congregational Song


  • Joy to the World (OEG) ANTIOCH, RICHMOND GTG 134, 266, PH 40
  • Awake! Awake, and Greet the New Morn (OEG) REJOICE, REJOICE GTG 107
  • Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above (O) MIT FREUDEN ZART GTG 645, PH 483


  • Do Not Be Afraid (OG) ISAIAH 43 GTG 76
  • The Lord Your God Is with You (OG) ZEPHANIAH 3:17 VT 173
  • My Lighthouse (O) MY LIGHTHOUSE/Rend Collective VT 597
  • Wild and Lone the Prophet’s Voice (G) ABERYSTWYTH GTG 163, PH 409
  • O Christ, the Great Foundation (G) AURELIA GTG 361
  • Rest in You (E) All Sons and Daughters CCLI


  • O Sing to the Lord (OG) CANTAI AO SENHOR GTG 637, PH 472
  • In the Lord, I’ll Be Ever Thankful (E) IN THE LORD I’LL BE EVER THANKFUL GTG 654,

    STF 2195

  • Peace of God Be with You (E) AS-SALAAMU LAKUM GTG 448


  • Rejoice! Rejoice, Believers (OE) LLANGLOFFAN GTG 362, PH 15
  • Rejoice, the Lord Is King! (OE) DARWALL’S 148TH GTG 363, PH 155
  • We Will Go Out with Joy (EG) WE WILL GO OUT WITH JOY GTG 539
  • Could It Be That God Is Singing (O) INVITATION NEW VT 42

Psalms and Canticles

Isaiah 12:2–6

  • Surely the Lord Is My Salvation [ D]; SGP 227
  • Surely, It Is God Who Saves Me [THOMAS MERTON]; H82 679


  • Surely, It Is God Who Saves Me [FIRST SONG]; GTG 71
  • Sing the Praises of the Lord [NUN KOMM DER HEIDEN HEILAND]; HTP1 68

Organ Music

  • “Fanfare, Variations, and Toccata on ‘Hark, a Thrilling Voice is Sounding,’” MERTON, James Biery, MSM (MA)
  • “Awake! Awake, and Greet the New Morn,” REJOICE, REJOICE, Ten Hymn Settings for Organ, vol. 1, Marilyn Biery, GIA (ME)
  • “Es ist ein’ Ros’ entsprungen,” Eleven Chorale Preludes, Op. 122, Johannes Brahms, (ME)
  • “Passepied,” BESANÇON, A Time to Dance: Settings for Organ, David Evan Thomas, AF (M)

Piano Music

  • “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” HYFRYDOL, Seasonal Sunday Solos for Piano, HAL (ME)
  • “Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers,” HAF TRONES LAMP FARDIG, Rejoice, Rejoice, Michael Mazzatenta, SFP (M)

Anthems for Adult Choirs

  • “Advent Glad Song,” Suzanne Toolan, GIA, SATB, keybd, opt solos (M)
  • “An Advent Acclamation,” Stacey Nordmeyer, HAL, SATB or 2 pt mix, pno, opt hb, opt perc (ME)
  • “In the Bleak Midwinter,” Molly Ijames, LOR, SATB, pno (E)
  • “In the Bleak Midwinter,” Dan Forrest, BP, SATB, pno (M)
  • “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” Marianne Forman, CGA, SATB, pno (M)


  • Baptism into the Community, Wayne Forte, 2016 (EYE)
  • Philippians 4:4–8, Timothy R. Botts, 2016 (EYE)
  • Baptism of Jesus, Scott Lorenzo, 1987 (VDL)
  • Still Life of Flowers and Grapes encircling a Monstrance in a Niche, Jan Van Kessel I, 1670 (VCS)