St. John the Baptist Anglican Church - Duncan St. John the Baptist Anglican Church - Duncan
St. John the Baptist Anglican Church - Duncan is live
Advent 4
Guest Speaker
Sunday, December 19, 2021

Advent 4

Prepare the Way of the Lord!

O Come!  Let Us Worship!


Micah 5. 2-5a

Psalm 146--My Soul Proclaims Your Glory (Sung)

Hebrews 10. 5-10

Luke 1. 39-45


As we gather, we recognize that we live, work and play in the traditional lands of the Cowichan Tribes and Coast Salish People.  We continue to commit ourselves to the work of reconciliation and relationship-building with our First Nations neighbours.    




A virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel: God with us.

Matthew 1.23

O come, let us worship.    


Almighty God,

to you all hearts are open,

all desires known,

and from you no secrets are hidden.

Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

that we may perfectly love you,

and worthily magnify your holy name;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. 


Opening Hymn: Once in Royal David’s City

Public Domain  


Once in royal David’s city

stood a lowly cattle-shed,

where a mother laid her baby,

in a manger for his bed.

Mary was that mother mild,

Jesus Christ her little child.  


He came down to earth from heaven;

who is God and Lord of all,

and his shelter was a stable,

and his cradle was a stall.

With the poor, and mean, and lowly,

lived on earth our Saviour holy.  


Not in that poor lowly stable,

with the oxen standing by,

we shall see him, but in heaven;

set at God’s right hand on high,

When, like stars, his children crowned

all in white shall gather round.


4th Week of Advent: Scripture & Prayer

Galatians 4. 4-5

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son to be born of a woman, so that he would be born under the law, in order to redeem those under the law, so that we would be adopted as sons.  


Advent Prayer for Revealing

O Lord, you promised in your Holy Scriptures, to send your Son Jesus Christ as the Son of David, and your own Son. Reveal this saving promise also to us, and move our hearts to faith and obedience; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.  


Advent Wreath 4th Week — Love

Heavenly Father:

The whole meaning of Christmas can be explained in one little 4-letter word…LOVE.  

You sent your gift of pure love to us that first Christmas.

Love descended from heaven to be born of a virgin.

Love lay in the scratchy hay of a manger in a meager barn in Bethlehem.

All of your love, God, was robed in the delicate skin of a baby

and wrapped in swaddling cloths.


This final week of Advent helps us to reflect on the magnitude of love that was made manifest in Jesus.  

There is no greater gift than this, that a man should lay down his life for his friends. You willingly gave the gift of your life because of your love.

Your righteous blood covered our sin. You redeem and restore us when we confess you as Lord and Savior of our life.

At that moment, you give us the gift of your love for all eternity. We receive grace upon grace and mercy upon mercy at that moment.  

Father, this final week of Advent, fill our hearts and minds with the significance of that truth. Thank you, Lord, for loving us enough to send Jesus. In Jesus’ precious name we pray. Amen.  


All: (sung)                         

A candle is burning, a candle of Love                     

A candle to point us to heaven above.                     

A baby for Christmas, a wonderful birth;                     

For Jesus is bringing God’s love to our earth. 


Trisagion (said) X3          

Holy God,          

holy and mighty,          

holy immortal one,          

have mercy upon us.


Collect of the Day:

Heavenly Father,

who chose the Virgin Mary, full of grace, to be the mother of our Lord and Saviour. 

Now fill us with your grace, that we in all things, may embrace your will, and with her rejoice, in your salvation;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever. Amen.     


The Proclamation of the Word 


1st Reading: Micah 5: 2-5a  

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.    


Psalm 146--My Soul Proclaims Your Glory Lord (sung)

Copyright protected. Unable to post lyrics.    


2nd Reading:  Hebrews 10:5-10.  

The word of the Lord.  

Thanks be to God.


Gradual Hymn: Tell Out, My Soul

Copyright protected. Unable to post lyrics.  


The Lord be with you.  

The Good News of Jesus according To:

Luke 1. 39-45  

Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.  

The Gospel of Christ,

Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.


Sermon:  The Venerable Brian Evans

May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of our hearts, be ever acceptable to you, O Lord.  Amen.  

Christmas in a Brown Paper Bag

Who would have thought, even a year ago, our groceries would be coming home in a brown paper bag?

These brown paper bags bring back memories of my childhood.  

If you have been following my Thursday Reflections, this Advent has been a trip down memory lane. This past week in particular, I talked about the homemade PJ’s.

I reflected on the preparations undertaken by my mother and father; the Parish Christmas Letter speaks of a birthday cake for Jesus.  

Today it is about Christmas in a brown paper bag.   

I invite you to join with me on yet another trip down memory lane. 

I remember well, my parents, in particular my Mom.  

Mom was busy at home with 3 young boys, and Dad would be sent off to the country grocery store with “THE LIST”.

Yes—it was not yesterday—for the list would be filled by the local “grocer”, filling the list from the shelves behind the counter.

For he knew what Mrs. Evans preferred, brand-wise and size.  

We often looked to see what the surprise may come from the bag. One item I remember, on occasion, would be a package wrapped in the special meat- wrapping paper.

Often this package contained a piece of smoked haddock, for “Finnan Hattie.”  

Special times of the year call for special paper. We know the season by the paper. Even a brown paper wrapped piece of Haddock.  


We can tell a lot about the gift by size, weight, and if it rattles or not.

Also, you knew the giver, by the wrapping and the expertise of the bow on the ribbon.

My cousin Grace always wrapped her gifts measured with preciseness.  


Christmas is certainly the season for wrapping paper. Except modern technology has increased the complexity of the unwrapping.

We have fiber strapping, and package wrapping which even defy the sharpest knife at times.

Then, all the wires holding the toy in place on the package.

All of this requires a special set of tools, just for opening the gifts.     

There is a poem about this subject, by Mary Elizabeth Counselman (1911-1995), that sums up the difficulty in unwrapping Christmas.  


"Hats off to you makers of gadgets galore.

Hooray for your shipping and stackage.

But why do you make it so hard, more and more,

to take all your wares from the package?  


Your cartons and bags, I can't cut with a knife.

The strength of your cardboard - fantastic!

I'm sure I've spent easily half of my life,

just fighting my way into plastic!  


Your labels resist any solvent on earth.

Your tape is as tough as an ox.

I've paid for my purchase - but what is it worth,

if I can't get it out of the box?"  


Half of the excitement of Christmas is observing all those packages under the tree.

The other half, is the expression on family faces when the surprise within is revealed.

Then, there is the person who carefully removes each piece of tape, and the one who simply can’t get inside quick enough.  

There is something of a metaphor, for us as Christians, in the special wrapping paper, and the anticipation of the special gift contained within.

Yet, what about the brown-paper-wrapped gift remaining under the tree, unopened after all the others have had their just do?  

What about that gift? The gift so simple yet so meaningful.  

This is the kingdom of God coming into the world.  

This is the day God turned the world upside down.  

What we discover, is the simplest, least expected, would be the greatest gift of all time.  

In less than a week, we will discover, once again:  

the greatest gift of all time was born into the world, in the form a small child laying in a manger, in a in very rustic barn, in a very small unassuming town in the Middle East.  

The brown-paper-wrapped gift is the metaphor for this event in our lives.  

Today is the day we hear these great words from Mary:

“My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour; for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on, all generations will call me blessed….”                     

Repeatedly, God uses the ordinary to assist us in experiencing the extraordinary.  

Jesus, as an adult, continued in a similar manner:  

  • We have the widows might;
  • we have the woman who touches the hem of his garment;
  • we have the woman at the well;
  • the women first to discover the empty tomb.  

The list goes on. The emissaries of God come in simple brown paper wrapping.  

There is Mary. How much more common could we get?

How surprised the world must have been to discover this most ordinary person would be the mother of our Lord.  

Then Joseph. A simple carpenter.  

Bethlehem. The forgotten little town across the valley from Jerusalem.  


Stable. To think, our Saviour would be born in a lowly cattle-shed, as the Carol reminds us.  

Who would have ever thought 2000+ years along, and that simple manger to this day melts the toughest of hearts? How that manger melts the most frozen into love and grace.  

The brown-paper-wrapped manger is a metaphor, as reminder for us, the simple birthplace of Jesus melts our hearts into seeing the most unexpected.  

A BABY: God comes into the world as an infant child!

At the same time, I believe God knew exactly what he was doing, for there is nothing more hope-filled, than the birth of a child.

(I just so happen to have witnessed some of that excitement, in a certain co-worker, this past year, with the birth a grandchild!)

Why, even the first cry of a baby is so filled with hope!

On this 4th Sunday of Advent, Mary gives us a glimpse into what is about to happen in 6 days from now.

A gift, which is given to the world. A gift, which will make all of us rejoice in God our Savior!  

May we all discover the hidden splendor and grace of God’s love this season, once more.  

Let us not forget to “unwrap” that brown-paper gift, metaphorically under the tree!



The Apostles Creed:


Let us confess the faith of our baptism, as we say:  

I believe in God,

the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.

He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.  

He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again.

He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again to judge the living and the dead.  


I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.  Amen.    


The Prayers of the People 

Like David, the ruler of Israel, and Mary, the Mother of Jesus, let us praise the favors of God in a spirit of hope- filled joy. 

Our prayer response is:

God of mercy, fill us with hope.  


You have established your reign of love in Christ, our Emmanuel. May your church abide in the Spirit of Christ.

As we watch for the Radiant Dawn, we pray:

God of mercy, fill us with hope.  


Christ came among us and proclaimed your loving kindness. Strengthen our Church Leaders, the church’s bishops, and clergy that they may fulfill their ministry in a spirit of mercy.  

As we watch for the Radiant Dawn, we pray:

God of mercy, fill us with hope.    


Through Mary we have received the promised Messiah. Through our fidelity to your will may the world continue to experience your saving power.  

As we watch for the Radiant Dawn, we pray:

God of mercy, fill us with hope.  


By the word of the prophets, Israel was filled with hope.

By our prophetic witness to the sanctity of life, may the most vulnerable of society be strengthened.  

As we watch for the Radiant Dawn, we pray:

God of mercy, fill us with hope.  


In Christ your covenant of love endures forever. Watch over all who live in the covenant of marriage that their love may be life-giving.  

As we watch for the Radiant Dawn, we pray:

God of mercy, fill us with hope.  


Your Anointed took up our humanity to lead us to the reign of peace. May the dead who took up Christ’s life through faith find kind welcome in heaven.  

As we watch for the Radiant Dawn, we pray:

God of mercy, fill us with hope.  


Christ is the mighty Healer; we ask for his healing touch on: Roy & Gail; John; Steve; Maureen; Michelle; Sheila & Family; Joseph; Derrick; & Mark;

we pray:

God of mercy, fill us with hope.  


Loving God, as we wait for the Dawn of Salvation,

sustain us in hope and guide our fee into the pathways of peace.

We pray in the name and Spirit of Jesus, our Emmanuel and your Beloved.  Amen.


Confession and Absolution


Dear friends in Christ,

God is steadfast in love and infinite in mercy; God welcomes sinners and invites them to the table. Let us confess our sins, confident in God’s forgiveness.  


Most merciful God:

We confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed,

by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.  

We have not loved you with our whole heart;

we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.

We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.  

For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ,

have mercy on us and forgive us,

that we may delight in your will,

and walk in your ways, to the glory of your name.  Amen.  



Almighty God have mercy upon you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and keep you in eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  



Distance-Sharing of The Peace  


The Celebration of the Eucharist. 


Offertory Hymn: Come Thou Long Expect Jesus

Public Domain.

Come, Thou long expected Jesus

Born to set Thy people free;

From our fears and sins release us,

Let us find our rest in Thee.


Israel’s Strength and Consolation,

Hope of all the earth Thou art;

Dear Desire of every nation,

Joy of every longing heart.  


Born Thy people to deliver,

Born a child and yet a King,

Born to reign in us forever,

Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.


By Thine own eternal Spirit

Rule in all our hearts alone;

By Thine all sufficient merit,

Raise us to Thy glorious throne.   


Prayer over the Gifts

Gracious God, by the power of the Spirit, who sanctified the mother of your Son,

make holy all we offer you this day.

We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, the Lord. Amen.   


Eucharistic Prayer #3    

The Lord be with you.                     

And also, with you.  

Lift up your hearts.                     

We lift them to the Lord.  

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.                     

It is right to give our thanks and praise.  


Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth;

We give you thanks and praise through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

You exalted him as Lord of all creation that he might present to you

an eternal kingdom:

a kingdom of truth and life;

a kingdom of justice, love and peace.

Therefore, at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow

as heaven and earth proclaim the glory of your name: 

Holy, holy, holy Lord,       

God of power and might,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.  

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest. 


We give thanks to you, Lord our God, for the goodness and love

you have made known to us in creation;

in calling Israel to be your people;

in your Word spoken through the prophets;

and above all in the Word made flesh, Jesus your Son.

For in these last days, you sent him to be incarnate from the Virgin Mary, t

o be the Saviour and Redeemer of the world.

In him, you have delivered us from evil, and made us worthy to stand before you.

In him, you have brought us out of error into truth,

out of sin into righteousness, out of death into life.  


On the night he was handed over to suffering and death, a death he freely accepted, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat: this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”  


After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, “Drink this, all of you: this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this in remembrance of me.”  


Therefore, Father, according to his command,

we remember his death,

we proclaim his resurrection,

we await his coming in glory; 


and we offer our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to you, Lord of all; presenting to you, from your creation, this bread and this wine.  


We pray you, Gracious God, to send your Holy Spirit upon these gifts, that they may be the sacrament of the body of Christ and his blood of the new covenant.

Unite us to your Son in his sacrifice, that we, made acceptable in him, may be sanctified by the Holy Spirit.  

In the fullness of time, reconcile all things in Christ, and make them new, and bring us to that city of light where you dwell with all your sons and daughters; through Jesus Christ our Lord, the firstborn of all creation, the had of the Church, and the author of our salvation;  

by whom, and with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory are yours, almighty Father, now and for ever. Amen. 


The Lord’s Prayer

As our Saviour taught us, let us pray,


Our Father who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come,

thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  

Give us this day our daily bread;

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those that trespass against us;

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.  

For thine is the kingdom, the power,

and the glory, for ever and ever.   Amen.   


The Breaking of the Bread

“I am the bread of life,” says the Lord.

“Whoever comes to me will never be hungry;

whoever believes in me will never thirst.”


Taste and see that the Lord is good;

happy are they who trust in him!    


The gifts of God for the People of God.  

Thanks be to God. 


The Administration of Communion  


Communion Hymn: Make Me a Channel of Your Peace

Copyright protected. Unable to post lyrics.  


Prayer After Communion

Faithful God, in this sacrament we receive the promise of salvation.

May we, like the Virgin Mary, be obedient to your will.

We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, the Lord. Amen    


Glory to God,

whose power, working in us,

can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.

Glory to God from generation to generation,

in the Church and in Christ Jesus, for ever and ever.  Amen.  


The Blessing



Closing Hymn: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Public Domain. 


O come, O come, Emmanuel,

and ransom captive Israel,

that mourns in lonely exile here

until the Son of God appear.  


Rejoice! Rejoice!

Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel.  


O come, O Wisdom from on high,

who orders all things mightily;

to us the path of knowledge show,

and teach us in her ways to go.  


Rejoice! Rejoice!

Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel  


O Come, O come, great Lord of might,

who to your tribes on Sinai’s height

in ancient times once gave the law,

in cloud and majesty and awe.  


Rejoice! Rejoice!

Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel  


O come, O Rod of Jesse’s stem,

from every foe deliver them

that trust your mighty power to save,

and give them victory o’er the grave.  


Rejoice! Rejoice!

Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel  


O Come, O Key of David, come,

and open wide our heavenly home;

make safe the way that leads on high,

and close the path to misery.  


Rejoice! Rejoice!

Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel  


O come, O Dayspring from on high

and cheer us by your drawing nigh;

disperse the gloomy clouds of night,

and death’s dark shadow put to flight.  


Rejoice! Rejoice!

Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel  


O come, Desire of nations,

bind in one the hearts of humankind;

O bid our bitter conflict cease,

and be for us our Prince of Peace.  


Rejoice! Rejoice!

Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel    



Go forth into the world, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit.

Thanks be to God.  Alleluia!  


The recording ends. 

The next recording will be in January.

Merry Christmas!