Theme: The new church year begins with a wake-up call: Christ is coming soon! In today's readings both Paul and Jesus challenge us to wake from sleep, for we know neither the day nor hour of the Lord's coming.
Readings: Psalm 122 Isaiah 2:1-5 Romans 13:11-14 Matthew 24:36-44
Theme: At the heart of our Advent preparation stands John the Baptist, who calls us to repent and make a new beginning. As the darkness increases we turn toward the light of Christ's coming. We wait with hope for that day when the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and there will be no more hurt or destruction.
Readings: Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 Isaiah 11:1-10 Romans 15:4-13 Matthew 3:1-12
Theme: A note of joyful expectation marks today's worship. Isaiah announces that the desert shall rejoice and blossom. Jesus points to signs of God's reign: the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear. We pray that God would open our eyes and ears to the wonders of Christ's advent among us.
Readings: Psalm 146:5-10 Isaiah 35:1-10 James 5:7-10 Matthew 11:2-11
Theme: During these final days of Advent we pray, "O come, O come, Emmanuel," a beloved hymn based on ancient prayers appointed for the seven days preceding Christmas. On this final Sunday in Advent we prepare to celebrate the birth of the one born to save us from the power of sin and death.
Readings: Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 Isaiah 7:10-16 Romans 1:1-7 Matthew 1:18-25
Theme: As we celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas, our gospel today confronts us with the death of innocent children at the hands of Herod. The birth of Christ does not remove the power of evil from our world, but its light gives us hope as we walk with all the "holy innocents" of past generations and today who have suffered unjustly.
Readings: Psalm 148 Isaiah 63:7-9 Hebrews 2:10-18 Matthew 2:13-23