Notable Feast Days this Week:

December 18 - Gatian, Bishop of Tours
December 19 - Adam and Eve (Lutheran)
December 20 - Ignatius of Antioch, 115 (Eastern)
December 20 - Eight day of Channukah, 2 Tevet
December 21 - St. Thomas, Apostle (Anglican, Lutheran)
December 22 - Anastasia, Martyr, 304 (Eastern, Roman Dec. 25)
December 23 - Ten Martyrs of Crete, 250
December 24 - Vigil of Christmas (Christmas Eve)

Revised Common Lectionary

2 Samuel 7:1-11,16
Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:46b-55

Luke 1:26-38

Daily Readings

Liturgical Color - White

--- The Fourth Sunday of Advent --- December 25, 2017 (Year B)
Nothing is Impossible for God
"The Lord was with David (2 Samuel 7:1-11,16); through his lineage and the Virgin Mary, the Son of God was born. Nothing is impossible for God (Luke 1:26-38). Glory to his name (Romans 16:25-27), the Rock of our salvation (Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26)."
- Thomas Oden, Ancient Christian Devotional
The Vigil of the Nativity (Christmas Eve)
The air is thick with expectation. The prophecies are coming to fruition. The virgin Mary conceives, and gives birth to the Son of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. What we have anticipated is coming true. Hope springs eternal as we prepare for God's presence among us.  

The "O" Antiphons 
Many Western Christian traditions make use of the "O" antiphons during this final week of Advent. These prayers are recited beginning on December 17. Each prayer addresses God using different names like "O Radiant Dawn" and "O Wisdom." The Advent hymn "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" contains words from each of the "O" antiphons. The tradition of singing and reciting these prayers has been with the church for well over 1500 years.

In addition to this liturgical tradition, many churches will be decorated in green this Sunday. The "greening" of the church anticipates Christ's arrival. The winter of sin and doubt is thawing and signs of eternal life are beginning to appear. 

The Mystery of the Incarnation

The mystery of God clothed in helpless human flesh is at the heart of the Christian faith. Open your heart to wonder and believe in his name. He has come to us:
"God travels wonderful ways with human beings, but he does not comply with the views and opinions of people. God does not go the way that people want to prescribe for him; rather, his way is beyond all comprehension, free and self-determined beyond all proof. Where reason is indignant, where our nature rebels, where our piety anxiously keeps us away: that is precisely where God loves to be. There he confounds the reason of the reasonable; there he aggravates our nature, our piety—that is where he wants to be, and no one can keep him from it. Only the humble believe him and rejoice that God is so free and so marvelous that he does wonders where people despair, that he takes what is little and lowly and makes it marvelous. And that is the wonder of all wonders, that God loves the lowly...God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in. He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost, the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded, the weak and broken.” 
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas
"O Little Town of Bethlehem" - The story of the birth of Jesus told by the people of Bethlehem. Made by St Paul's Church, Auckland, New Zealand.
““Who among us will celebrate Christmas correctly? Whoever finally lays down all power, all honor, all reputation, all vanity, all arrogance, all individualism beside the manger; whoever remains lowly and lets God alone be high; whoever looks at the child in the manger and sees the glory of God precisely in his lowliness.” 
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from God Is In the Manger
Psalm of the Week
Scripture Readings

I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself. You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant, ‘I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations...I have raised up a young man from among the people... My faithful love will be with him, and through my name his horn will be exalted...

Psalm 89, 2 Samuel 7
Romans 16, Luke 1

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
God's promises to David

Romans 16:25-27
The mystery revealed in Christ

Luke 1:47-55
The Lord lifts up the lowly

Luke 1:26-38
The angel appears to Mary
Daily Readings
Revised Common Lectionary

Daily Readings
Book of Common Prayer

The Entire Bible in One Year
Practicing Prayer
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.
 -from The Book of Common Prayer
Contemplative Prayer (View and Download)
Morning Prayer (View and Download)
Advent Compline Prayer (View and Download)
Further Prayer Resources

Advent and Christmas Daily Prayer Book 2017-2018 (Presbyterian)
Morning and Evening Prayer (Church of England-Protestant)
Liturgy of the Hours and Sung Breviary (Roman Catholic)
Sung Morning Prayer by Calvin Peters (Eastern Orthodox)
Audio Prayer Meditation (Pray as You Go)
Psalm Spotify Playlist
Singing Psalms and Hymns
Hymn suggestions for the Fourth Week of Advent (Year B) from 

Kings College Lessons and Carols 2017 | PDF Booklet 

Music for the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas Eve) | OCP Music LIturgy Podcast 

Advent Gloria | by Bobby Krier (Castle Island Hymns) | Leadsheet 

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence | Arranged by Lowana Wallace - Porter | Leadsheet 

All Praise to Thee | Words: Martin Luther / Music: Greg Gilbertson | Leadsheet

Jesus Comes with Clouds Descending | Arranged by Holy City Hymns |Leadsheet

Forever (Psalm 89) | Music by Emily Moore | Leadsheet, Piano Music, Chord Chart

Psalm 89 Anglican Chant Anglican Chant Psalter

Psalm 89 Metrical options
Commentary on Luke 1:26-38
The first cause of human perdition occurred when a serpent was sent by the devil to a woman who was to be deceived by the spirit of pride. Moreover, the devil himself came in the serpent, who, once he had deceived our first parents, stripped humankind of the glory of immortality. Because death made its entrance through a woman, it was fitting that life return through a woman. The one, seduced by the devil through the serpent, brought a man the taste of death. The other, instructed by God through the angel, produced for the world the Author of salvation.  
-Venerable Bede 
More Historic Commentary (View and Download)...
Music for Listening
      More Music:
Thematic Art 
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