Fourth Sunday of Advent – Sunday 20 December

God our redeemer,
who prepared the Blessed Virgin Mary
to be the mother of your Son:
grant that, as she looked for his coming as our saviour,
so we may be ready to greet him
when he comes again as our judge;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 7.10-16
Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. Then Isaiah said: ‘Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.

Psalm 144
    Blessed be the Lord my rock,
   who teaches my hands for war and my fingers for battle;
    My steadfast help and my fortress,
      my stronghold and my deliverer,
      my shield in whom I trust,
   who subdues the peoples under me.
    O Lord, what are mortals that you should consider them;
   mere human beings, that you should take thought for them?
    They are like a breath of wind;
   their days pass away like a shadow.
    Bow your heavens, O Lord, and come down;
   touch the mountains and they shall smoke.
    Cast down your lightnings and scatter them;
   shoot out your arrows and let thunder roar.
    Reach down your hand from on high;
   deliver me and take me out of the great waters,
      from the hand of foreign enemies,
    Whose mouth speaks wickedness
   and their right hand is the hand of falsehood.
    O God, I will sing to you a new song;
   I will play to you on a ten-stringed harp,
      You that give salvation to kings
   and have delivered David your servant.
      Save me from the peril of the sword
   and deliver me from the hand of foreign enemies,
      Whose mouth speaks wickedness
   and whose right hand is the hand of falsehood;
      So that our sons in their youth
      may be like well-nurtured plants,
   and our daughters like pillars
      carved for the corners of the temple;
      Our barns be filled with all manner of store;
   our flocks bearing thousands,
      and ten thousands in our fields;
      Our cattle be heavy with young:
   may there be no miscarriage or untimely birth,
      no cry of distress in our streets.
      Happy are the people whose blessing this is.
   Happy are the people who have the Lord for their God.