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PEACE - Fourth Sunday of Advent

The Upper Room Liturgie for the Fourth Sunday of Avent, 2023 was written by Beth A. Richardson

 

Scripture


26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.


39In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”


46And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

48for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,

and lifted up the lowly; 53he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 54He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,

55according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” 56And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

Luke 1: 26-55 NRSV

 

Author's Thoughts


During this season of giving, we pause to open our hearts, our minds, our spirits to receive God's blessings. We proclaim with Mary, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior" (Lk. 1:46-47).

We have witnessed God's restoration in the midst of brokenness. We have prepared ourselves for Christ's coming. We have proclaimed with faith the promise of God's generous righteousness.

 

Author's Prayer


Now we stand with welcome hearts, O God, waiting to receive. Our spirits hunger for the coming of hope. Fill us with restoring love. Prepare us for the coming of your Holy Child. Encourage us to proclaim the good news to all people. Like Mary, we are your lowly servants. As we light this fourth candle of Advent, may we receive with Mary's openness and trust. Prepare us to receive your gift of hope.

 

Sing: "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming"


  1. Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming From tender stem hath sprung! Of Jesse’s lineage coming, As men of old have sung. It came, a flow’ret bright, Amid the cold of winter, When half spent was the night.

  2. Isaiah ’twas foretold it, The Rose I have in mind; With Mary we behold it, The virgin mother kind. To show God’s love aright, She bore to men a Savior, When half spent was the night.

  3. This Flow’r, whose fragrance tender With sweetness fills the air, Dispels with glorious splendor The darkness everywhere. True man, yet very God, From sin and death He saves us, And lightens every load.

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