God has done great things for us!
God’s love is heralded in the promise of Christ.
Holy is God’s name!
God’s promises are fulfilled in the coming of Christ.
God’s mercy extends from generation to generation.
God’s salvation is offered in the gift of Christ.
Holy God, your prophet Micah foretold with faith that a new ruler would come forth from Bethlehem— today we celebrate the fulfillment of your promise; your daughter Elizabeth proclaimed with faith that her cousin was to be the mother of her Lord—today we celebrate the fulfillment of your promise; your servant Mary proclaimed with faith that she would be called blessed by all generations— today we celebrate the fulfillment of your promise. Make us bold enough to proclaim with faith— the coming of your kingdom, the coming of your justice, the coming of your peace. May we sing out the good news of your salvation, trusting in fulfillment of your promises. All this we pray in the name of the one who comes. Amen.
Loving God, even in the midst of this season of goodwill, there is much to confess. In spite of holiday cheer, stress and anxiety rule our lives. We miss the reason for the season, focusing instead on Christmas parties, long to-do lists, and trying to get the shopping done. We fail to think about your reordered world— a world where the lowly are lifted up and the hungry are filled with good things. Help us adjust our Christmas priorities, that we might join with you, O God, in preparing a world that welcomes the one who brings us peace.
Words of Assurance
The ancient promises of God are fulfilled. God does not forget us. God’s mercy extends from generation to generation. Let our souls rejoice in God!
But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has brought forth;
then the rest of his kindred shall return
to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth;
and he shall be the one of peace.
Consequently, 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.
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.”
And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
The Sentinel & Rural News covers the news and events of Clark County and southern Taylor County, as well as regional news that affects those areas.