December 18, 2022 – Fourth Sunday of Advent

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

Lectionary Readings

Isaiah 7:10–16
The young woman will bear a child and name him Immanuel.

Psalm 80:1–7, 17–19
Restore us, O God; let your face shine, and save us.

Romans 1:1–7
Paul greets the saints in Rome; Jesus is the promised Son of God.

Matthew 1:18–25
Mary is with child; an angel visits Joseph; Jesus is “God with us.”

— Gathering —

Opening Sentences

We stand on the cusp:
the promise is almost fulfilled.
We wait with bated breath:
the child is almost here.
We trust the well-loved story:
God is truly with us.

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.
O Lord our God, we give you thanks
for the hope and longing you instill in us
through the promise of our baptism—
a voice crying out in the wilderness,
a messenger to prepare the way,
the day of redemption drawing near.
By the power of your Holy Spirit,
poured out upon us in baptism,
keep us awake and make us ready
for the coming of your glorious realm
of righteousness, justice, and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Confession and Pardon​

At the baptismal font:
God comes to us just as we are,
with all our triumphs, our worries,
our gratitude, and our failures.
We deepen our relationship with God now
by drawing close and confessing our sins.

Shepherd of our souls,
we anticipate your coming but do not feel ready.
We have done too much, and not done enough.
We have focused too much on ourselves,
and not enough on others.
Restore us, O God;
let your face shine, that we might be saved.

Lifting water from the font:
Emmanuel did not come into this world
to condemn, but to save.
God does not come to imprison us,
but to set us free.
Through this abundant love, we are forgiven.
Thanks be to God.

— Word —

Prayer for Illumination

At the lectern or pulpit:
Holy God, our hope and strength,
by the power of your Spirit
prepare the way in our hearts’
for the coming of your Word,
so that we may see the glorious signs
of your promise fulfilled;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Before the readings:
A voice is crying in the wilderness:
Listen to the word of the Lord. ‘
Mark 1:3; John 1:23

After the readings:
Heaven and earth will pass away
but the word of the Lord stands forever.
Thanks be to God. 
Isaiah 40:8; Mark 13:31


Ascription of Praise

After the sermon:
Now to the God of all wisdom,
who strengthens us according to the gospel,
through Jesus Christ be all glory forever. Amen.
Romans 16:25–27

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

Gathered here, in the house of the Lord,
let us pray for the coming of Christ’s realm.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the peace of the church . . .
Bring peace, O God, to sinners and saints;
keep us faithful in your mission
and generous in sharing your grace.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the peace of the earth . . .
Bring peace, O God, to all people;
let new neighbors love one another
and old enemies be reconciled.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the peace of all nations . . .
Bring peace, O God, to every land;
give wisdom to our leaders
and freedom to all people.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the peace of this community . . .
Bring peace, O God, to our city [town];
hold us in your hand and lead us;
shepherd the lost and feed the hungry.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the peace of loved ones . . .
Bring peace, O God, to family and friends;
protect those who are in trouble
and save us from all harm.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the peace of Jerusalem . . .
Bring peace, O God, to the world you have made:
the peace that passes understanding
and the promise of your new creation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is coming in glory to reign. Amen.
Psalm 122:6

— Eucharist —

Invitation to Offering

At the communion table:
All things in heaven and earth belong to God,
who is coming in glory to reveal a new creation.
Let us offer our lives to the Lord.
2 Peter 3:8–15

Prayer of Dedication

At the communion table:
Eternal God,
as we wait for the fulfillment of your reign,
use these gifts and the gifts of our lives
to bring justice to those who are oppressed,
to set free those who are in prison,
to lift up those who are bowed down,
and to uphold those who are vulnerable. Amen.

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 have been our shepherd and savior in every generation.
Though we turned away from you, you were always faithful.
In the fullness of time, you sent your only Son to be our Immanuel.
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:
In Jesus Christ, born of Mary, you fulfilled your promise,
long awaited by prophets and spoken in the Scriptures.
By his resurrection from the dead we receive life everlasting.
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.

Give hope and strength to those who call upon your name.
Feed us with the bread of life and fill us with the spirit of joy
so that we may share your grace and peace with all the world.

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 hope, we give you thanks
that you have given us this foretaste
of the justice, righteousness, and peace
of your promised new creation.
Strengthen us with this heavenly food
as we seek to serve your holy realm.
Lead us to live in joyful expectation
of the coming again in glory
of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

— Sending —

Hymn, Psalm, or Spiritual Song


Blessing and Charge

At the doors of the church:
May the God of peace make you holy
and the power of the Spirit sustain you
until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Alleluia!
1 Thessalonians 5:16–24

Prepare the way of the Lord! Amen.
Isaiah 40:3; Mark 1:3

“Blue Madonna”

Frank Wesley, 1947

Additional Materials

Congregational Song


  • O Lord, How Shall I Meet You (OG) VALET WILL ICH DIR GEBEN GTG 104, PH 11
  • God Is Here! (G) ABBOT’S LEIGH GTG 409, PH 461
  • Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending (EG) HELMSLEY GTG 348, PH 6
  • Make Way, Make Way (EG) MAKE A WAY WAS 3044


  • For You, O Lord, My Soul in Stillness Waits (OEG) MY SOUL IN STILLNESS WAITS GTG 89
  • Savior of the Nations, Come (OEG) NUN KOMM, DER HEIDEN HEILAND GTG 102, PH 14
  • Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence (OEG) PICARDY GTG 347, PH 5
  • O Joseph, Awaken (G) GARCEAU Sing No Empty Alleluias, Chris Shelton, GIA


  • Creator of the Stars of Night (OG) CONDITOR ALME SIDERUM GTG 84, PH 4
  • While We Are Waiting, Come (OEG) WAITING (Cason) GTG 92
  • People, Look East (E) BESANÇON GTG 105, PH 12
  • Unexpected and Mysterious (OEG) ST. HELENA ELW 258


  • Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus (E) HYFRYDOL, STUTTGART GTG 82, 83; PH 1, 2
  • My Soul Cries Out with a Joyful Shout (G) STAR OF COUNTY DOWN GTG 100
  • A Stable Lamp Is Lighted (OG) ANDUJAR GTG 160
  • La benedición del Dios de Sara / The God of Sarah (OG) Pablo D. Sosa SSS 711

Psalms and Canticles


  • O Shepherd, Hear and Lead Your Flock [ST. LOUIS]; PAS 80C, LUYH 64
  • O Hear Our Cry, O Lord [VINEYARD HAVEN]; GTG 355, PH 206, PAS 80B
  • Restáuranos, oh Dios / Restore Us, O God; SSS 72


  • Restore Us Again; PAS 80A
  • Lord, Come Soon; PP 145

Organ Music

  • “Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland,” BWV 599, J. S. Bach, Orgelbuchlein, public domain (ME)
  • “People, Look East,” BESANÇON, Three Advent Preludes, Robert A. Hobby, MSM (ME)
  • “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” VENI EMMANUEL, The Promised Coming, Burton Bumgarner, Warner Bros. Publications (E)
  • “Canticle of the Turning,” STAR OF COUNTY DOWN, Augsburg Organ Library: Advent Series II, Barbara Harbach, AF (MA)

Anthems for Adult Choirs

  • “O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion,” Messiah, G. F. Handel, CPDL, SATB, solo, pno, str qrt (MA)
  • “The Angel Gabriel,” arr. David Schelat, OUP, SATB, org (M)
  • “He Comes to Us as One Unknown,” John Ferguson, AF, SATB, org (M)
  • “Angel Gabriel,” Stephen Paulus, Stephen Paulus Music, SATB, hp (MA)
  • “Maria Walks amid the Thorn,” Hugo Distler, CON, SAB, acap (E)
  • “O Magnum Mysterium,” César Alejandro Carrillo, Earthsongs, SATB div, acap (MA)
  • “Maria Walks amid the Thorns,” Fred Gramann, ECS, SATB, acap, sop (M)
  • “O Magnum Mysterium,” Hyo-Won Woo, WAL, SATB div, acap (A)

Handbell Music

  • “Abbot’s Leigh,” Lee Afdahl, 3–5 oct hb, HOPE, 2103, Level 2+
  • “Creator of the Stars of Night,” Joe Gaylon, 3–5 oct hb, opt 3 oct hc, JHS, JHS9594, Level 3-
  • “People Look East, the Time Is Near,” Tammy Waldrop, 3–5 oct hb, opt 3–5 oct hc, CGA, CGB410, Level 3-


  • Immanuel—Behold a Virgin Shall Conceive . . . , Joseph Nuttgens, 1952 (VDL)
  • Isaiah 7:14, Timothy Botts (EYE)
  • Longest Night, Jan Richardson (JR)
  • Waiting for the Revealing, Jan Richardson (JR)
  • Matthew 1:20–21, Timothy Botts (EYE)