4th Sunday of Advent (Year C)

Call to Worship

Our souls magnify the Lord Luke 1:46b-55
and our spirits rejoice in God, our Savior.
For God has looked upon the lowliness of God’s servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call us blessed.

For God has done great things in us, and holy is God’s name.
God’s mercy is for those who know their place,
who know that they serve God and God alone.

God has shown strength and has brought down the powerful.
God has filled the hungry and sent the rich away empty.
God has remembered God’s mercy and helped his servants,
according to the promise God has made to us.
Come, let us worship God-With-Us, Emmanuel!

Prayer of the Day

God of New Beginnings,
for many of us, the next few days will bring an ending:
the ending of the wrapping of presents,
the ending of Christmas parties,
the ending of shopping season,
the ending of the craziness of the month of December.
But, today, we are reminding that Christmas does not represent an ending;
but rather, the beginning:
the beginning of hope,
the beginning of peace,
the beginning of joy,
and the beginning of love.
Help us remember this day that you are the God of new things. Amen.

Call to Confession

Let us confess, before God and one another,
the sins that have kept us from drawing near to God and one another.


Forgiving God,
we have messed up in so many ways:
we have attempted to disguise ourselves in fake piety,
we have done something good only to make ourselves feel better,
we have failed to exercise the compassion that Jesus embodied.
Forgive us, Merciful God, for that which we have done and left undone.
How long, O Lord, will you be angry with us?
Ps. 80
Shed your mercy upon us that we might be made new.
This we pray in your holy name. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

hear the good news of the Gospel:
in the name of the Christ-child, Emmanuel,
our sins are forgiven!
Alleluia! Amen.

Prayer for Illumination

Holy God,
illumine us with your Word
that we might be guided by its wisdom
and centered by its love. Amen.

Prayers of the People

Let us pray to God, saying:
God of Love, draw near to us.

God of Creation,
we give thanks to you for your continued act of creation,
for your constant refusal to give up on the world you are creating.
We give thanks for the never-ending act of creation
that is the birth of your only child.
Jesus is our breath, our meaning, our hope in a broken world.
Thank you for not being a God-Way-Up-There
but a God-Right-Here in our arms.
God of Love, draw near to us.

God of Our Deepest Longings,
we come to you, in this Advent season, with our hopes:
our hopes for warfare to cease,
our hopes for hunger and poverty to be a thing of the past,
our hopes for love to win and for kindness to reign,
our hopes for a world where the dignity of all humans is cherished,
our hopes for our nation to be a place where those in power
put the needs of marginalized people first, and not last.
Holy God, give us the courage to bring these hopes to fruition.
God of Love, draw near to us.

God of Community,
we pray this day for those we love:
for our family,
for our friends,
for our coworkers,
for the strangers we meet as we go about our week.
Remind us that we are parts of a global community
and that those we encounter have their own struggles,
struggles that we often cannot imagine.
Give us gentle hearts and and open arms
to dispense the grace that you have so graciously showered upon us.
God of Love, draw near to us.

God of Advent,
how much we long for the arrival of your precious Child.
We pray for the blessings of that Child to be among those we love.
We lift up to you in silence (or out loud) those who we love this day…
God of Love, draw near to us.

Holy and Merciful God,
hear us as we lift these prayers to you,
as we pray the prayer your Child taught us to pray, saying: our Father…

Looking for more Advent resources? Check out these links:


Stephen Fearing

Stephen was born in 1988 in Cookeville, TN, where his parents met whilst attending Tennessee Tech. Shortly after, they moved to Dalton, Georgia where they put down roots and joined First Presbyterian Church, the faith family that taught Stephen that he was first and foremost a beloved child of God. It was this community that taught Stephen that it was OK to have questions and doubts and that nothing he could do could every possibly separate him from the love of God. In 1995, his sister, Sarah Kate, joined the family and Stephen began his journey as a life-long musician. Since then, he has found a love of music and has found this gift particularly fitting for his call to ministry. Among the instruments that he enjoys are piano, trumpet, guitar, and handbells. Stephen has always had a love of singing and congregation song. An avid member of the marching band, Stephen was the drum major of his high school's marching band. In 2006, Stephen began his tenure at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC where he majored in Religion and minored in History. While attending PC, Stephen continued to explore his love of music by participating in the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, Jazz Trio, as well as playing in the PC Handbell ensemble and playing mandolin and banjo PC's very own bluegrass/rock group, Hosegrass, of which Stephen was a founding member (Hosegrass even released their own CD!). In 2010, Stephen moved from Clinton to Atlanta to attend Columbia Theological Seminary to pursue God's call on his life to be a pastor in the PC(USA). During this time, Stephen worked at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Silver Creek Presbyterian Church, Central Presbyterian Church, and Westminster Presbyterian Church. For three years, Stephen served as the Choir Director of Columbia Theological Seminary's choir and also served as the Interim Music Director at Westminster Presbyterian Church. In 2014, Stephen graduated from Columbia with a Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Arts in Practical Theology with an emphasis in liturgy, music, and worship. In July of 2014, Stephen was installed an ordained as Teaching Elder at Shelter Island Presbyterian Church in Shelter Island, NY. Later that year, Stephen married the love of his life, Tricia, and they share their home on Shelter Island with their Golden Doodle, Elsie, and their calico cat, Audrey. In addition to his work with the people who are Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, Stephen currently serves as a commission from Long Island Presbytery to the Synod of the Northeast and, beginning in January of 2016, will moderate the Synod's missions team.