December 19, 2021 | 9:15 a.m. | The Fourth Sunday of Advent

St. Martin’s Episcopal Church | Williamsburg VA

The Lighting of the Advent Wreath

Four candles are lit.

People:  Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

First Person or a Child:  Why do we light four candles?

Second Person:  The first candle reminds us of the hope God’s people always had.  The second candle reminds us of the dark night when Mary and Joseph found light, warmth, and peace in a stable where Jesus was born.  The third candle reminds us of bright angels who told the shepherds about the birth of Jesus.  The fourth candle reminds us of the star of Bethlehem that led the Wise Men to the Lord of Love and his family.

People:  When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.  On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage.

Celebrant:  Bright Morning Star, may the light of your love always shine in our hearts.  As Christmas draws closer, we marvel at your great love for us.  Let your love transform every aspect of our lives and touch everyone we encounter.  Our hearts are open to you, Jesus.  Amen.

The Word of God

Opening Hymn     O come, o come Emmanuel

     1    O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,

           that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.

                   Refrain:     Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

     2    O come, O come, thou Lord of might, who to thy tribes on Sinai’s height

           in ancient times didst give the law, in cloud, and majesty, and awe.   Refrain

3    Repeat verse 1 with refrain

Opening Acclamation

      Blessed are you, holy and living One.  You come to your people and set them free.

The Collect for Purity (together)

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid:  Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Trisagion  (sung three times)

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, Have mercy upon us.

The Collect of the Day

The Lord be with you.  And also with you.  Let us pray.

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The First Reading     Hebrews 10:5-10

When Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.  Then I said, ‘See, God, I have come to do your will, O God’ (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).”  When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “See, I have come to do your will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Psalm   (sung; the people will sing the refrain)

My soul is filled with joy as I sing to God my saviour:
You have looked upon your servant, you have visited your people.

     Refrain:   And holy is your name through all generations!

            Everlasting is your mercy to the people you have chosen, and holy is your name.

I am lowly as a child, but I know from this day forward
That my name will be remembered, for all will call me blessed.   Refrain

In your love you now fulfill what you promised to your people.
I will praise you, Lord, my saviour, everlasting is your mercy.   Refrain

The Gospel Acclamation     Come and fill

      Come and fill our hearts with your peace.  You alone, O Lord, are holy. 

     Come and fill our hearts with your peace.  Alleluia.

The Gospel     Luke 1:39-55

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.  Glory to you, Lord Christ. 

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.  Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.  His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.  He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.  He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.  He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

The Gospel of the Lord.  Praise to you, Lord Christ. 

The Sermon                                                                                                              The Rev. Cathy Boyd    

      A period of silence follows the sermon.

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.  Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.  He has spoken through the Prophets. 

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.  We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.  We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Prayers of the People

As we wait with pregnant expectation for the coming of Jesus, let us offer prayers to God who sends his Son in the womb of a virgin.

For the peace of the world, and for our unity in Christ.  Come, O Lord, and save us.

For Susan, our bishop, and all bishops; for Cathy and Lisa, our priests, and all priests; for deacons and all who minister in Christ; and for all the holy people of God.  Come, O Lord, and save us.

For the church throughout the world and the faithful in every place.  Come, O Lord, and save us.

For the leaders of the nations and all in authority.  Come, O Lord, and save us.

For justice, peace, and freedom among peoples of the earth.  Come, O Lord, and save us.

For travelers, for the sick and the suffering, for the hungry and the oppressed, and for those in prison. Come, O Lord, and save us.

For our deliverance from all affliction, strife, and need.  Come, O Lord, and save us.

Bless all whose lives are closely linked with ours, and grant that we may serve Christ in them, and love one another as Christ loves us.  We pray for the Roth and Demer families, January, Bruce, Chris and Glenn, Max, Connie, Dave, Sandy, Thomas and Ginny, for the children of St. Vincent’s School, Haiti, and for an end to the pandemic.  We pray for the dying and those who have died, especially Ali Roth and Justice and we pray that we may share with all your saints in your eternal kingdom.  Come, O Lord, and save us.    

Please add your own intentions, silently or aloud.

Joining our voices with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Blessed Martin, and all the saints and angels of God, let us offer ourselves and one another to the living God through Christ.  To you, O Lord.

O Root of Jesse, who arises as a sign among all peoples, in whose presence kings stand silent and nations bow in worship, come and deliver us, and tarry not. Glory to you for ever.  Amen.

Confession of Sin

God of all mercy, we confess that we have sinned against you, opposing your will in our lives.  We have denied your goodness in each other, in ourselves, and in the world you have created.  We repent of the evil that enslaves us, the evil we have done, and the evil done on our behalf.  Forgive, restore, and strengthen us through our Savior Jesus Christ, that we may abide in your love and serve only your will. Amen. 


The Peace & Announcements

The peace of the Lord be always with you.  And also with you.

The Holy Communion

The Offertory     Christmas Lullaby                                                                              

The Offering of Gifts     Take, O take

Take, O take me as I am; summon out what I shall be; set your seal upon my heart and live in me. 

The Great Thanksgiving     Prayers for an Inclusive Church, Prayer 1

      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 God thanks and praise.

Mystery of winter skies, we thank you in the darkening hour for opening our eyes to see your starlit beauty; for parting the wide heavens to send your gentle light; for offering your Word to take our mortal flesh. He was promised by those who shared your dream of peace; John the Baptist cleared his way with words of desert fire; Mary and Joseph accepted his coming with tenderness and faith; we know that he draws near again, to show us who we really are with honesty and love. Now we take up the song of hope that we might awaken to his coming among us and the world be touched by the footfall of his glory:

            Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power, God of might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. 

            Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

            Hosanna in the highest.  Hosanna in the highest.

We ask that your Holy Spirit will fall upon us and upon these gifts that these fragile, earthly things may be to us the Body and Blood of our Lord and brother, Jesus Christ; who, on the night that he was betrayed, gathered with his faltering friends for a meal that tasted of freedom.  Calling them to his table, he took the bread, gave thanks, broke it and said: ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.’  In the same way after supper, he took the cup, saying: ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, whenever you drink it, to remember me.’ As on that night, so here and now he offers himself in touch and taste beyond all words can hold.  Great is the mystery of faith:

Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Therefore we come in memory and hope, responding to your call and the promise that echoes from the dawn of all time. May mind and heart be held by your self-giving love as we stand before the cross, approach the empty tomb and praise the One whose name is lifted high above all earthly power.  Receive our broken offering through his all-powerful grace and bind us in communion with all who share your gifts; through Jesus Christ, in whom all ages and all the worlds are drawn into the ceaseless love of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer   (contemporary words)

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

The Breaking of the Bread

Alleluia.  Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.  Therefore let us keep the feast.  Alleluia.

Communion Hymn

The Post-Communion Prayer

God of abundance, you have fed us with the bread of life and cup of salvation; you have united us with Christ and one another; and you have made us one with all your people in heaven and on earth. Now send us forth in the power of your Spirit, that we may proclaim your redeeming love to the world and

continue for ever in the risen life of Christ our Savior. Amen.

The Blessing

The Closing Hymn     The angel Gabriel from heaven came

     1    The angel Gabriel from heaven came, his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;

           “All hail,” said he, “thou lowly maiden Mary, most highly favored lady,” Gloria!

     2    “For know a blessed Mother thou shalt be, all generations laud and honor thee,

           thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold, most highly favored lady,” Gloria!

     3    Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head, “To me be as it pleaseth God,” she said,

           “my soul shall laud and magnify his holy Name.”  Most highly favored lady, Gloria!                       

The Dismissal

     Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.  Thanks be to God. 

“Alleluia, alleluia” is only said during Easter season.

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