Fourth Sunday of Advent
Broadcast time 11am
Sunday 18th December 2022
Service Leader: Margaret Dimmick TSSF
Service Type: Holy Communion
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Readings used in the service
“Annunciation” by Nicola Slee
‘Miriam hardly had a room of her own.’ Elizabeth Johnson
It was not as it has long been pictured.
I did not sit alone, in silken garbs, reading my book
There was no enclosed garden.
Lilies did not grow in our hot Palestinian courtyards.
For a start, it was never quiet.
People were always coming and going in the compound;
ferrying animals or children
hanging out the washing
or gathering for gossip under the dark olive trees.
And prayers were noisy, too.
We intoned the Shema in unison, the whole gabble of us,
whoever happened to be around at the time.
Elders recited the scriptures while children grizzled
and goats shuffled in their pens.
Don’t imagine me rapt in ecstasy or fingering a rosary;
the prayers of Jewish girls are more pragmatic.
I was never alone, anyway.
There was always somebody wanting something:
‘Miriam, help me make the bread.’
‘Miriam, clear that trestle.’
‘Miriam, fetch more water.’
No angel wafted in golden wings.
Gabriel barged in, banging his bag down on the table.
It was the only way he could get my attention above the din.
At least a dozen pairs of etes turned to look where he stood,
dishevelled and dusty, shouting,
‘Miriam, there’s another job for you to do.’
Matthew 1:18-25 (NRSV)
18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.
20 But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”
24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife,
25 but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
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