Weekly Online Service
20 December 2020 The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Please find below our service for this week. You can also click on the PDF button to open and download a copy of the printed generic Service booklet.

You will find an opening hymn - words are included. This is followed by the service. Finally there is a closing hymn. Please feel free to follow along in whichever way you feel most comfortable. Words in bold are for everyone to join in.


Come, thou Redeemer of the earth

Come, thou Redeemer of the earth,
and manifest thy virgin-birth:
let every age adoring fall;
such birth befits the God of all.

Begotten of no human will,
but of the Spirit, thou art still
the Word of God, in flesh arrayed,
the Saviour, now to us displayed.

From God the Father he proceeds,
to God the Father back he speeds,
runs out his course to death and hell,
returns on God’s high throne to dwell.

O equal to thy Father, thou!
Gird on thy fleshly mantle now,
the weakness of our mortal state
with deathless might invigorate.

Thy cradle here shall glitter bright,
and darkness glow with new-born light,
no more shall night extinguish day,
where love’s bright beams their power display.

O Jesu, virgin-born, to thee
eternal praise and glory be,
whom with the Father we adore
and Holy Spirit, evermore. Amen.

Service Audio

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit

All say Amen.

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

and also with you.

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open, all desires known,
and from whom 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 Christ our Lord. Amen.


Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy,
Christ have mercy, Christ have mercy,
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.

The Prayers of Penitence

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, to be our advocate in heaven, and to bring us to eternal life.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith, firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments and to live in love and peace with all.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us, forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name.  Amen.

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

The fourth Advent candle is lit - Mary

God our Father, the angel Gabriel told the Virgin Mary that she was to be the mother of your Son. Though Mary was afraid, she responded to your call with joy. Help us, whom you call to serve you, to share like her in your great work of bringing to our world your love and healing. We ask this through Jesus Christ, the light who is coming into the world. Amen.

The Collect of the Day is said or sung.

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.

The Old and New Testament Readings

2 Samuel 7.1-11,16 - Read by Adeola Shyllon

Now when the king was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, 2 the king said to the prophet Nathan, ‘See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.’ 3 Nathan said to the king, ‘Go, do all that you have in mind; for the Lord is with you.’

4 But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: 5 Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? 6 I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle. 7 Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’ 8 Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; 9 and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 16 Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Romans 16.25-27 - Read by Elizabeth Ranson

Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever! Amen.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The Gospel

Luke 1.26-38 - Read by Aniru Shyllon

All sing: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

The Gospel reader says

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke

All say: Glory to you, O Lord.

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ 34 Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ 35 The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.’ 38 Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

This is the gospel of the Lord.

All say: Praise to you, O Christ.

All sing: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!


‘My Soul Doth Magnify The Lord’

Annunciation windowI have a confession to make, sometimes and especially at Evensong when I am tired, I gaze up at the window in the Lady Chapel of Mary and the Angel. Mary’s words are written underneath “My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord” and they often cause me to reflect. Could I as a young teen ever have said yes to that?

Here we are already, the fourth Sunday of Advent. The word Advent meaning ‘Coming’ and a season in the church’s calender that is often misunderstood. “Come, O come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel. That mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appears. Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.” A song of expectation from the time of Israel’s Exile in Babylon and it expreses the desire of a nation for God to bring an end to their suffering. Today we might say, they were looking for light at the end of the tunnel just as we look for a vaccine to protect us all.

In a way, Advent is a little like a pregnancy, it changes forever what went before and will change what happens after the birth, but for those nine months we wait in anticipation. Today we give thanks to God by lighting a candle for Mary, the mother of our Lord. We celebrate her willingness, and possibly her rebellious streak in defying convention, to serve God, putting her life in danger. She could so easily have been cast out, been stoned to death or died in childbirth. But when Mary heard that her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant there was not a flicker of doubt about the Angel’s news, and because this teenage, God fearing, girl called Mary said yes to his invitation, and because faithful Joseph did not abandon her, we are able thank God for sending his Son to redeem the world.

I don’t need to tell you it’s too late now. All the usual rushing here and there, the shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning and writing the ever-increasing number of Christmas cards, it all had to be scaled back this year. This morning, as we worship at home online we all at St Mary’s have an opportunity to stop and pause for breath. Here in these special moments we can rest from the hectic hustle and bustle of endless preparation for a Christmas that is like no other since the war ended. Many homes will be very short of money for all the usual extras we usually share. And these few minutes will give us space to think, perhaps to recapture the meaning of Christmas.

After the blessing of the crib at our service on Christmas morning, and we gaze on the Holy Family, then complete, some might imagine that Christmas is a time when families and friends get together for fun. Sadly this year, especially in parts of Eastern Enfield, it will be the opposite of our own experience.

Approaching my first Christmas at James’ I asked some ‘year four’ children to write about what Christmas meant to them and I want to share again some of their thoughts with you this morning. One of those 8 year olds wrote “Christmas means the world to me, it’s when I get to see my dad. He lives a very long way away and I don’t get to see him much anymore.” He was obviously a child who’s parents had split up and I wonder will he get to see his dad this year.

One little chap nervously told me “my daddy will get drunk and then there will be a row, I don’t like Christmas very much”. One of the youngest in the class, a girl, told me that “My granny died this year and mummy is too sad for Christmas”. This year that loss will be replicated so many times right across the country.

Another child wrote, “Christmas is when we remember Jesus’ birthday, its amazing because we get all the presents”. If they have never been taught, how can a child know the value of giving. Being normal children and egocentric, none of them had grasped the true meaning of Christmas. It is often said “out of the mouths of babes comes great wisdom” and it is true, children often see clearly what we adults filter out but more often they can get it so very wrong.

Have we got Advent wrong, I wonder? This year we have experienced what my training vicar would call ‘a miserable Advent’ this is not to say that he would want us to be miserable. No he wanted all his people to come to the end of Advent having learnt something of value to enhance their faith or help them grow in spirituality.

As we come to the end of this season of Advent we reflect on all we have learnt during these past months. Things like the dedication of all our health workers, the dustmen, the cleaners, the shop workers and all those who have tried to keep our lives as close to normal as possible. Hopfully bringing something of value to enhance our faith or help us grow spiritually.

We can pause to remember that Jesus is the reason for the season. And just maybe this will rekindle in us an eagerness to follow the star and not be left feeling deflated when the decorations come down. There will be many months more of Covid-19 to deal with but we will weather this storm.

As we thank almighty God for Jesus who brought us hope, peace, joy and love, may we all be inspired, like Mary, to take those most holy gifts out into our everyday life and work and say ‘my soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour’.

The Rev'd Maureen Lunn, 20/12/2020

Service Audio

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit
and the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son
is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Intercessions 

The Intercessions list has been circulated with petitions for the Church, The World, The Community, Our Keyworkers, The Sick and the Deceased. The Diocesan Cycle of Prayer is found at:

London Anglican Cycle of Prayer

This or another response may be used:

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ, let us pray to the Father.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, you promised through your Son Jesus Christ to hear us when we pray in faith.

Strengthen N our bishop(s) and all your Church in the service of Christ, that those who confess your name may be united in your truth,
live together in your love, and reveal your glory in the world.

Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen; give wisdom to all in authority;
and direct this and every nation in the ways of justice and of peace;
that we may honour one another, and seek the common good.

Give grace to us, our families and friends, and to all our neighbours,
that we may serve Christ in one another, and love as he loves us.

Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit …;
give them courage and hope in their troubles; and bring them the joy of your salvation.

Hear us as we remember those who have died in the faith of Christ …; according to your promises, grant us with them a share in your eternal kingdom.

Rejoicing in the fellowship of all your saints, we commend ourselves and the whole creation to your unfailing love.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen.

The Peace

We are the body of Christ.
In the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.
Let us then pursue all that makes for peace and builds up our common life.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

and also with you.

A sign of peace may be exchanged.

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray.

Service Audio

The Post Communion Collect

Heavenly Father, who chose the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the mother of the promised saviour: fill us your servants with your grace, that in all things we may embrace your holy will and with her rejoice in your salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Blessing

The peace of God,
which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

The Dismissal

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ.  Amen.

Recessional Hymn

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!
Unnumbered blessings give my spirit voice;
tender to me the promise of his word;
in God my Saviour shall my heart rejoice.

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his name!
Make known his might, the deeds his arm has done;
his mercy sure, from age to age the same;
his holy name -- the Lord, the mighty one.

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his might!
Powers and dominions lay their glory by;
proud hearts and stubborn wills are put to flight,
the hungry fed, the humble lifted high.

Tell out, my soul, the glories of his word!
Firm is his promise, and his mercy sure.
Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord
to children's children and forevermore!

Material from Common Worship 2000 is included in this service and is copyright © The Central Board of Finance of the Church of England.