(22 Dec. 2013, 21 Dec. 2014, 20 Dec. 2015)
O LORD, raise up your power, and come among us, and with great might help us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness, we are hurt and hindered in running the race that is set before us, your bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through the satisfaction of your Son our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be honor and glory, world without end.
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 your 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 living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Isaiah 40:1-9; Psalm 145:17-22; Philippians 4:4-7; John 1:19-28
Although the seasonal collect is still being repeated, keeping our attention upon the spiritual battle for which we need to bear the “armor of light,” today’s collect finally swings our attention more toward the future: Christ is coming “to speedily help and deliver us.” The Old Testament reading, Psalm, and Gospel each remind us of the immediacy of Christ’s return, allowing the preaching of John the Baptist and its origins in Isaiah to use Christ’s first advent (Christmas) as a model for his second advent at the end of this age. The epistle, therefore, tells us what to do in the meantime: rejoice, give thanks, pray, and receive God’s peace which passes all understanding.