Recorded Worship Service for December 17, 2023
Third Sunday of Advent






Watch this week’s service above.

Today’s Readings and Hymns:
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1   
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
2
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3
to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
4
They shall build up the ancient ruins,
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.

8
For I the Lord love justice,
I hate robbery and wrongdoing;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
9
Their descendants shall be known among the nations,
and their offspring among the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge
that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed.
10
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
my whole being shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11
For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to spring up before all the nations.



1   
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
then were we like those who dream.
2
Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy.
Then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
3
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are glad indeed.
4
Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like the watercourses of the Negeb.
5
Those who sowed with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
6
Those who go out weeping, carrying the seed,
will come again with joy, shouldering their sheaves.


16Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise the words of prophets, 21but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 22abstain from every form of evil.

23May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.


57Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.

59On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. 60But his mother said, “No; he is to be called John.” 61They said to her, “None of your relatives has this name.” 62Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. 63He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And all of them were amazed. 64Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. 65Fear came over all their neighbors, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. 66All who heard them pondered them and said, “What then will this child become?” For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.



O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Refrain
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.

O come, O Wisdom from on high,
embracing all things far and nigh:
in strength and beauty come and stay;
teach us your will and guide our way. Refrain

O come, O come, O Lord of might,
as to your tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times you gave the law
in cloud, and majesty, and awe. Refrain

O come, O Branch of Jesse, free
your own from Satan’s tyranny;
from depths of hell your people save,
and give them vict’ry o’er the grave. Refrain



Awake! Awake, and greet the new morn,
for angels herald its dawning.
Sing out your joy, for soon he is born,
behold! the Child of our longing.
Come as a baby weak and poor,
to bring all hearts together,
he opens wide the heav’nly door
and lives now inside us forever.

To us, to all in sorrow and fear,
Emmanuel comes a-singing,
his humble song is quiet and near,
yet fills the earth with its ringing;
music to heal the broken soul
and hymns of lovingkindness,
the thunder of his anthems roll
to shatter all hatred and blindness.

In darkest night his coming shall be,
when all the world is despairing,
as morning light so quiet and free,
so warm and gentle and caring.
Then shall the mute break forth in song,
the lame shall leap in wonder,
the weak be raised above the strong,
and weapons be broken asunder.

Rejoice, rejoice, take heart in the night,
though dark the winter and cheerless,
the rising sun shall crown you with light,
be strong and loving and fearless.
Love be our song and love our prayer
and love our endless story;
may God fill ev’ry day we share
and bring us at last into glory.



Rejoice, rejoice, believers,
and let your lights appear;
the evening is advancing,
and darker night is near.
The bridegroom is arising
and soon is drawing nigh.
Up, pray and watch and wrestle;
at midnight comes the cry.

The watchers on the mountain
proclaim the bridegroom near;
go forth as he approaches
with alleluias clear.
The marriage feast is waiting;
the gates wide open stand.
Arise, O heirs of glory;
the bridegroom is at hand.

The saints, who here in patience
their cross and suff’rings bore,
shall live and reign forever
when sorrow is no more.
Around the throne of glory
the Lamb they shall behold;
in triumph cast before him
their diadems of gold.

Our hope and expectation,
O Jesus, now appear;
arise, O Sun so longed for,
o’er this benighted sphere.
With hearts and hands uplifted,
we plead, O Lord, to see
the day of earth’s redemption
that sets your people free!




Worship Leaders: Pastor Colleen Cox, Nathan Nakonecznyj

Music: Deb Jenks (organ and piano); Senior Choir; Children’s Choir; Patrick and Robert Skoniczin (trumpet); Madison Werner (vocalist); Cecilia, Cheryl, Patrick, and Robert Skoniczin (vocalists)


Additional Resources:

View and print the pre-reader’s version of this Sunday’s children’s bulletin: Pre-reader’s Version
View and print the reader’s version of this Sunday’s children’s bulletin: Reader’s Version


The radio program Sing for Joy follows the weekly Sunday lectionary through music and reflection. To listen, click here: Sing for Joy. Program host Pastor Bruce Benson ties the biblical readings of the day with musical selections from a number of sources brought together by Dr. John Ferguson, retired professor of organ and church music. The program is produced by St. Olaf College.


Portions of today’s liturgy by Rev. Sarah Speed, A Sanctified Art LLC, sanctifiedart.org.

Permission to podcast/stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE #A-730287 and CCLI licenses #21502973 and #21502966. All rights reserved.

Liturgies and music graphics from Sundays and Seasons, © 2023 Augsburg Fortress Publishers. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Augsburg Fortress Publishers under license #SB143962.