Weekly Church Service – Fourth Sunday of Advent: 20 December 2020


This child will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. Luke 1:32-33


Gracious God,

whose eternal Word took flesh among us

when Mary placed her life at the service of your will:

prepare our hearts for his coming again

and keep us steadfast in hope,

that we may ready for the coming of his kingdom;

for his sake, who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen.


  • 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
  • Psalm 89:1-4, 19-27
  • Romans 16:25-27
  • Luke 1:26-38

next week

  • Isaiah 61:10-62:3
  • Psalm 148
  • Galatians 4:4-7
  • Luke 2:22-40

A Thought to Ponder

Advent 4 Luke 1:26-38

“Hail, full of grace!  The Lord is with you . . . Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. Behold, you shall conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.”

Today’s Gospel on this Sunday before Christmas is Luke’s account of the angel Gabriel’s appearance to Mary. The Annunciation story is filled with First Testament imagery (e.g. the announcement by the angel parallels the announcements of the births of many key figures in salvation history, such as Isaac and Samuel; the “overshadowing” of Mary recalls the cloud of glory covering the tent of the ark and temple in Jerusalem). Mary’s “yes” to Gabriel’s words set the stage for the greatest event in human history: God’s becoming human.

In today’s Gospel, God begins the “Christ event” with Mary, a simple Jewish girl who is at the very bottom of her people’s social ladder; the God who created all things makes the fulfillment of his promise dependent upon one of the most dispossessed and powerless of his creatures. Yet God exalts her humility, her simplicity, her trust in his love and mercy. God’s “favour” belongs the poor, the rejected, the abandoned and the forgotten among us today. 

In his becoming human in the Son of Mary, God enters human history to show us how to live God-like, grace-filled, holy lives of compassion, forgiveness and justice in our time and place in that history.

In the Advents of our lives, God calls us to bring his Christ into our own time and place; may we respond with the faith and trust of Mary, putting aside our own doubts and fears to say I am your servant, O God. Be it done.  

The mystery of the Incarnation is relived every time we echo Mary’s “yes” to God’s call to bring his Christ into our world, when we accept, as did Mary, God’s asking us to make the Gospel Jesus alive in our own time and place. 

Mary’s life is pretty much laid out before her by her family and culture — simple, hidden and uncomplicated. But God interrupts her pre-ordered life, entrusting her with bringing his Christ to birth. God interrupts our own well-ordered and focused lives, as well, to bring his Word and Light to birth in our hearts and homes; God’s messenger Gabriel appears to us in the needs of our children, the struggles of family and friends, the cries of the poor, the despair of the lost and marginalised.    

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