December 22, 2024 – Fourth Sunday of Advent

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

Lectionary Readings

Micah 5:2–5a
A ruler will come from Bethlehem; he will be the one of peace.

Luke 1:46b–55
My soul magnifies the Lord, who has done great things.

or Psalm 80:1–7
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel; let your face shine, and save us.

Hebrews 10:5–10
God does not desire burnt offerings; Christ came to do God’s will.

Luke 1:39–45 (46–55)
Mary visits Elizabeth; the child in Elizabeth’s womb leaps for joy.

— Gathering —

Opening Sentences

Give ear to our cries, O Shepherd of Israel;
let your face shine, and save us.
Though we’ve been fed the bread of tears,
let your face shine, and save us.
Though our enemies rise up,
though we feel consumed and surrounded,
let your face shine, and save us.
Awaken your might; lead us gently in your light.
Restore us, O God, so that we might be saved. Amen.

Prayer of the Day

Loving Shepherd,
as we draw closer to the feast of Christmas,
remind us again how to heed your will.
Help us to hear when you call.
Help us to follow where you lead.
Help us to trust your rod and staff.
Hold us closely in your care
as we anticipate the coming gift of Christ. 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:
In our waiting and preparation,
we come to rest, again, at the foot of the cross.
Even in this season of anticipation,
we see the fullness of God’s promised redemption
in the waters of baptism.
As those who are fully known and redeemed,
we confess our sin before God and one another.

O God, giver of all good gifts,
we come before you as children
in need of your wisdom and grace.
Our fears and our hopes are braided together
in the rhythm of daily life.
Our visions of the future
depend on our own hands and ability.
Our expectations remain reasonable
and within our control.
Break into this tangle of fear and hope,
bringing peace to our souls.
Break into our vision of the future,
returning us to your hands.
Break into our expectations,
awakening us with curiosity and wonder;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Lifting water from the font:
Christ’s coming is certain.
God’s promise is true.
Trust in the transformational power
of God’s forgiveness
and receive the gift of God’s love.
In Jesus Christ we are forgiven!
Thanks be to God.

— 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 . . .

Teach us to follow Christ our Lord,

who offered himself as a sacrifice of praise

and sought to do your will in all things.

Emmanuel, come; O come and save us.


We pray for the world . . .

Lift up those who are poor and vulnerable;

cast down those who are mighty and proud.

Show us all the power of your saving grace.

Emmanuel, come; O come and save us.  


We pray for this community . . .

Help us to stand with those who are in trouble,

feeding the hungry and strengthening the weak,

so that all may live in peace and safety.

Emmanuel, come; O come and save us.


We pray for loved ones . . .

Look with love on all who need your care.

Dry the tears of those who mourn

and fill the empty with your blessing.

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:
As you promised long ago,
you have revealed the majesty of your name
in a little child, born in Bethlehem;
he is our joy and our peace.
He is our shepherd, feeding us with mercy
and leading us in safety.

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:
Born of Mary, Jesus Christ
is our salvation and strength,
the fulfillment of your word
and the hope of generations.
Christ lifts up the lowly
and fills the hungry with good things.

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.

In Jesus Christ,
help us to live according to your will.
Sanctify and shape us
into the image of Christ’s own body,
so that our lives may be a holy offering
of love and praise.

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

The Salutation

Evelyn De Morgan

Additional Materials

Congregational Song


  • O Little Town of Bethlehem (OEG) ST. LOUIS GTG 121, PH 43, 44

  • From Heaven Above (OG) VOM HIMMEL HOCH GTG 111, PH 54

  • Great Are You, Lord (OG) GREAT IS THE LORD GTG 614, STF 2022

  • Soplo de Dios / O Living Breath of God (O) V.RVINDAR FRISKA SSS 8

  • Your Mercy Flows (G) YOUR MERCY FLOWS LUYH 700


  • To a Maid Whose Name Was Mary (OEG) ANNUNCIATION GTG 98, PH 19

  • O Lord, How Shall I Meet You (EG) VALET WILL ICH DIR GEBEN GTG 104, PH 11

  • No Wind at the Window (G) COLUMCILLE GTG 101


  • Creator of the Stars of Night (OG) CONDITUR ALME SIDERUM GTG 84, PH 4

  • Come to the Table (EG) COME TO THE TABLE GTG 508

  • Give Thanks (G) GIVE THANKS GTG 647


  • Love Has Come (OEG) BRING A TORCH GTG 110

  • Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us (OG) BRADBURY GTG 187, PH 387

  • Savior of the Nations, Come (OG) NUN KOMM, DER HEIDEN HEILAND GTG 102, PH 14

Psalms and Canticles

Luke 1:46b–55

  • My Soul Gives Glory [MORNING SONG/CONSOLATION]; GTG 99, PAS 1042

  • My Soul Cries Out with a Joyful Shout [STAR OF THE COUNTY DOWN]; GTG 100, LUYH 69, PAS 75B

  • Holy Is Your Name [WILD MOUNTAIN THYME]; PAS 1020

  • Tell Out, My Soul [WOODLANDS]; LUYH 364


  • My Soul Rejoices in the Lord; PAS 1022

  • My Soul Proclaims; PFTS1 66

Psalm 80:1–7

  • 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


  • Restore Us Again; PAS 80A

  • Lord, Come Soon; PP 145

Organ Music

  • “Meine Seele erhebt den Herren,” BWV 648, J. S. Bach, (M)

  • “Fuga sopra il Magnificat,” BWV 733, J. S. Bach, (A)

  • “Fugues on the Magnificat,” Johann Pachelbel, (E-ME)

  • “Magnificats I–VI,” Fifteen Pieces for Organ Founded on Antiphons, Op. 18, Marcel Dupr., (MA/A)

Piano Music

  • “The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came,” GABRIEL’S MESSAGE, The Essential Collection for Christmas, Larry Shackley, HOPE (M)

  • “My Soul Cries Out (Canticle of the Turning),” STAR OF THE COUNTY DOWN, Reflections for Worship 2, Mark Hayes, HOPE (MA)

Anthems for Adult Choirs

  • “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,” Jay Rouse, LOR, SATB, acap, bass solo (MA)

  • “Gabriel’s Message,” Gail Lund, Cypress Choral Music, SATB, pno (E)

  • “Magnificat,” Michael John Trotta, Hampton Road Music Group, SATB, acap (MA)

  • “A Joyful Magnificat,” Joseph M. Martin, JM, SATB, keybd (ME)

  • “And Christ Shall Be Our Peace,” K. Lee Scott, CON, SATB, org, opt hb (ME)

  • “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” Shawn Kirchner, BH, SATB, pno, opt sax (ME)


  • The Visitation, El Greco (Dominikos Theotokopoulos), 1610–14 (VCS)

  • The Visitation, unknown Cypriot artist, 14th century (VCS)

  • Advent Visitation 2, Nicholas Markell, 2016 (EYE)

  • The Salutation, Evelyn De Morgan, 1883 (PD)

  • Red Magnificat, Frank Wesley, 1923–2002 (VDL)