Eternal God, we come to you with great expectation. We gather this day to worship you, offering our blessing to you. Blessed is the Lord, and blessed are God’s people to whom God sends a savior, the Messiah, who is Christ the Lord. Blessed in our God, and blessed are God’s gifts, that grace us with forgiveness and every good gift. Let us worship the Lord. Amen.
Prayer of Confession:
Mighty and merciful God, we confess how easy it is to get caught up in the swirl of this season. Our days and our attention can become consumed with gifts and cards, food and decorations. Give us more than just this hour of calm, O Lord. Help us each day this week to experience anew your presence in our life. Keep us mindful of the humble stable and the precious baby that Christmas is meant to celebrate. Bring the new day that is announced in scripture to disturb our routines and remake us, that we may accept your forgiveness, and offer it to others.
Old Testament Lesson: Malachi 3: 1-4 NRSV (source)
See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.
Gospel Lesson: Luke 3: 1-6 NRSV (source)
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
- No. 205 – All Hail to God’s Anointed
- No. 10 – On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry
- No. 13 – Prepare the Way
“Preparation . . . for What?” – Rev. Scott G. Loomer