Fourth Sunday of Advent

December 24, 2023

CALL TO WORSHIP: Song of Mary (Magnificat)
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
My spirit rejoices in God my Savior, who has looked with favor on me, a lowly servant.
From this day all generations shall call me blessed:
The Almighty has done great things for me and holy is the Name of the Lord, whose mercy is on those who fear God from generation to generation.
The arm of the Lord is strong, and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
God has cast down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly.
God has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 
God has come to the aid of Israel, the chosen servant, remembering the promise of mercy, the promise made to our forebears, to Abraham and to his children forever.
—Version found in the Chalice Hymnal

Almighty, eternal God, Creator of the universe: your greatness is beyond our comprehension. And yet, you come to us in the form of a helpless Child. Exalted above all, yet you have made yourself vulnerable in the flesh of the Babe of Bethlehem.

Because nothing compares to you, we confess that we sometimes imagine you to be infinitely distant, untouched by our lives. And yet, in Jesus Christ, you have become part of us: Our experience is your experience; you share in our joys and suffering. But then, sometimes we pretend to know you too well. We fail to hold you in reverence. We think our will is your will, imagining all our deeds are blest as long as they support our goals. Forgive us and set us on the right path— the path to Bethlehem and the manger, the place where we finally realize that your plan is beyond our grasp and your love beyond our comprehension.

Bless now our Christmas prayers, for, despite our imperfect understanding, they are brought to your perfect love. May your will be done: In our lives, in the lives of those we love, and in the life of the world.
[A silence is kept.]

All this we pray in the Name of Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, God forevermore.