Introduction to our Readings
Candle and cross are inextricably connected on the fourth Sunday of Advent. Between a lovely tribute to the little town of Bethlehem and the blessed virgin Mary’s magnificent song of praise, the letter to the Hebrews reminds us in no uncertain terms that Christ’s advent is for “the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” It is the kind of tension in which the church always lives as when in the holy communion—with high delight—”we proclaim the Lord’s death.”
Reading: Micah 5:2-5a
Introduction: The prophet Micah, having pronounced judgment upon Judah, speaks of a future shepherd-king who, like David, will come from the small town of Bethlehem (Ephrathah refers to the area around Bethlehem). This king will restore Israel and bring peace. New Testament writers understood this passage to be referring to Jesus.
Reading: Luke 1:39-55
Introduction: We are presented with Elizabeth, John’s mother, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, two women filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith. In Elizabeth’s inspired greeting and Mary’s song of praise we hear of a saving God who remembers, scatters, lifts up, and fulfills all things.