Exploring the Sunday Gospel - Fourth Sunday in Advent


This Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Advent. On the last Sunday of Advent the Church focuses attention on Mary who prepared for the first Christmas in a very special way.  According to the traditions of both Matthew and Luke, Mary was with child from the Holy Spirit.  The Gospel reading from Matthew explores the conception from Joseph’s perspective and draws on the authority of the Old Testament prophecy, ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel.’


For those of you who wanted to do some thinking and preparation for today’s service during the preceding week, I invited reflection on the image of the manger. In today’s picture from their book, Christmas Crib Service, Aled and Sian bring their gifts to the manger, the cattle’s feeding trough set within the Christmas stable at Bethlehem. The angel is there to welcome them.


Lord Jesus Christ,

your mother cared for you in a manger

because there was no room at the inn.

Help us to prepare room for you

in our hearts this Christmas time;

for you are our God,

now and always.



Next Sunday is Christmas Day. A core Gospel reading for Christmas Day is Luke’s account of how an angel of the Lord brought the good news of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds who were keeping watch over their flock by night. The image to help prepare for Christmas Day is the shepherds. You can find out more about that theme by looking at the Educational Resources and the Preparation Resources.

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