Fourth Sunday in Advent 23 December 2018 A.D.

Fourth Sunday in Advent      23 December 2018 A.D.      Morning Prayer

Jeremiah 33:7-16   The Epistle. Philippians  4: 4-7   The Gospel   St. John 1:19-28

                             O LORD, raise up, we pray thee, thy power, and come among us, and                                       with great might succour us; that whereas, through our sins                                                        and wickedness, we are sore let and hindered in running the race                                              that is set before us, thy bountiful grace and mercy may speedily                                               help and deliver us; through the satisfaction of thy Son our Lord,                                              to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be honor and glory, world                         with out end.                                                                         Amen.

                                  Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away
                                  the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light
                                  now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus
                                  Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day,
                                  when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge
                                  both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal,
                                  through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost,
                                   now and ever.                             Amen.

Today we observe the fourth Sunday in Advent.   In the scripture readings from  Jeremiah we learn about two separate events concerning Jerusalem. The first, when Jerusalem was emptied during the Babylonian captivity and then the second time about the second coming of the Lord Christ, our Savior.  The desolation that came to Jerusalem after the Babylonians captured the city; and all the rulers, the wealthy, and the educated of Hebrew society were taken into exile, the city ceased to function.  Later, after 70 years, it was restored.  But there will come a time when Jerusalem again will be laid bare, either politically or economically or both, then Christ will restore the city for the last time.
The New Heavens and New Earth are described in the book of Revelation as well as several times in the both the Old and New Testament.  It is during the Fourth Sunday in Advent we can contemplate Christ’s Second Coming.  This is a promised event, yet to come, that will restore the earth to what it was before the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden.  The way everything was supposed to be, as God created.  Now to get another perspective to how we should live all year, but especially during Advent, let’s look at the passage from Philippians: 4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

The passage in Philippians is an admonition to us for the present.  Be careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.   And now the promise of the joy that escapes us many times...”the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”.   
  Most especially at this time of the year we seek a little peace.  There are so many things going on and things that need to be done and things that don’t work and things that don’t work out...we sometimes get so wrapped up in Christmas time that we forget the Peace that the baby Jesus will eventually spread around the world came at this time.   Peace and quiet, peace and rest, peace and tranquillity....oh blessed peace.

Now let us look at the final reading for this the Fourth Sunday in Advent.   The Gospel of John records the prophecy fulfilled through John the Baptizer, John who lived out in the wilderness, wearing coarse clothing, eating off the land, John who was short of response and yet spoke the Truth.   When the religious folk were sent out by the more religious folk in Jerusalem to question John, he did not mince any words.   They asked if he was the Christ, the coming One who would redeem his people.  Who are you ?   They wanted to know if he was Elijah, no he replied.  Was he the Prophet?  The one who would come before the Messiah ?  John finally answers them by using Scripture, he quotes the passage from Isaiah 40:3. “3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”     When presses further about his baptism, John again refers to a physical sign, an outward sign of something that happens inwardly.  “I baptize with water, but one comes after me who really existed before me...”   

Now as we take these three passages into account, let us remember that Christ was prophesied to come as a baby, to come as a king, to come as a savior, to come as the high and mighty ruler of the world, the world he created.  It is at this time of the year that we should remember God’s greatest gift, His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, came in great humility, born unto us {Immanuel} and he would take away the sins of the world. As we remember these great mysteries let us take that Light to the fallen world, knowing that one day it will be restored, let us share that promise to others.  They must come to Christ and know him as their One and only Savior, only He can take away their sins.  Hallelujah the King of kings has come ! 

Let us pray:  
  Lord as we approach the commemoration of your first coming, the Nativity or birthday of Christ, let us be aware of those who would have us to remove Christ from every day life, to remove the saving knowledge from our society.  Help us to be always vigilant of those who wish God out of existence, give us the words and deeds to show them that there is a better way, the way of the Lord, he and he alone can bring them peace and saving grace.  Lord make us an instrument of your Word today.   Now bring us to this new week, restored, renewed and ready to show the world that we do have the truth and that we want to share that truth with others.

O ALMIGHTY God, TURN thou us, O good Lord, and so shall we be turned. Be favorable, O Lord. Be favorable to thy people, Who turn to thee in weeping, fasting, and praying. For thou art a merciful God, Full of compassion, Long-suffering, and of great pity. Thou sparest when we deserve punishment, And in thy wrath thinkest upon mercy. Spare thy people, good Lord, spare them, And let not thine heritage be brought to confusion. Hear us, O Lord, for thy mercy is great, And after the multitude of thy mercies look upon us; Through the merits and mediation of thy blessed Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.                                                                   Amen.
THE LORD bless us, and keep us. The LORD make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The LORD lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, both now and evermore.                                                                                                                               Amen.