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Dec 9, 2019

Matthew 1:18-25
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called His name Jesus.

During Advent, you may notice several changes to our typical Sunday liturgy which are designed to set this season of the church year apart. The portion of our service dedicated to confession contains two musical responses (“Lord, have mercy,” and a sung “Amen”), as well as a time of silent prayer, to emphasize this aspect of worship during a penitential season. Many traditional Advent hymns are subdued or contemplative, such as O Come, O Come Emmanuel, Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming, and Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, all of which we’ll be singing this morning. But Advent is not only a time of reflection and repentance: we also look forward with anticipation to the coming of the glory of the Lord, shining about us just like it shone around the shepherds in Luke 2. Because of this, we’ll be learning a new piece of service music this month: the CLOVERCROFT GLORIA. Intended to be paired with the CLOVERCROFT KYRIE, it is written in F major, the dominant of the Kyrie’s B-flat. This harmonic relationship points to a theological reality—after confessing our sins, receiving assurance of pardon, and professing our belief, we are lifted from darkness to light. This Advent season, let’s join our voices with the angelic hosts, proclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!” —Henry C. Haffner

Key Words: Birth, Betrothed, Holy Spirit, Angel, Fulfill, Immanuel
Keystone Verse: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel. (Matthew 1:23)

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