Fourth Sunday of Advent
We beseech thee, Almighty God, to purify our consciences by thy daily visitation, that when thy Son our Lord cometh He may find in us a mansion prepared for Himself; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Genesis 3: 8, 13-15
So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you…I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Psalm 80:1-7 – Plainsong, Tone ii
Restore us, O God of hosts;
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel.
“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”
66 Come, thou long-expected Jesus (Stuttgart)
343 Shepherd of souls, refresh and bless (St. Agnes)
265 The angel Gabriel from heaven came (Gabriel’s Message)
72 Hark! the glad sound! the Savior comes (Richmond)
Magnificat (Plainsong, Tine II)
Antiphon: Drop down ye heavens, from above,
and let the skies pour down righteousness:
Let the earth open and bring forth salvation. (Isaiah 45:8)
Schop: How lovely shines the Morning Star
Guilmant: March on a Theme of Handel, Op. 15
NOTE: In 1995, when I was an exchange student in the U. K., December 24 happened to fall on a Sunday. Becasue the liturgical day begins at sundown (see Gen. 1:5, “and there was evening and there was morning, the first day” and so on) the morning service on that day was the Fourth Sunday of Advent and the evening service was Christmas Eve. I was loose on my own in London that day and I went to church five times–Matins, Eucharist, two carol services and Midnight Mass– at Wesminster Abbey and St. Pauls Cathedral among others. At one of the morning services the organist played this Guilmant March on a theme of Handel as the postlude, and the memory of that whole day has stuck with me so much that I have pulled it out on the Sunday before Christmas every year since. It is a flashy piece, and it sounds harder than it actually is–after all, I can play it. The theme from Handel is “Lift up your heads” from Messiah, but it is the same opening gesture as “Glory to God,” also from Messiah, as well as Handel’s tune “Joy to the world.”