Advent Devotion for December 20   10 comments

Above: The Annunciation, by El Greco

“Hail Mary, Full of Grace….”

DECEMBER 20, 2023


Isaiah 7:10-17 (Revised English Bible):

The LORD spoke further to Ahaz.

Ask the LORD your God for a sign,

he said,

whether from Sheol below or from heaven above.

But Ahaz replied:

No, I will not put the LORD to the test by asking for a sign.

Then the prophet said:

Listen, you house of David.  Not content with wearing out the patience of men, must you also wear out the patience of men, must you also wear out the patience of my God?  Because you do, the Lord of his own accord will give you a sign; it is this:  A young woman is with child, and she will give birth to a son and call him Immanuel.  By the time he has learnt to reject what is bad and choose what is good, he will eating curds and honey; before that child has learnt to reject evil and choose good, the territories of those two kings before whom you now cringe in fear will lie desolate.  The LORD will bring on you, on your people, and on your father’s house, a time the like of which has not been since Ephraim broke away from Judah.

Psalm 24 (Revised English Bible):

To the LORD belong the earth and everything in it,

the world and all its inhabitants.

For it was he who founded it on the seas

and planted it firm on the waters beneath.

Who may go up the mountain of the LORD?

Who may stand in his holy place?

One who has clean hands and a pure heart,

who has not set his mind on what is false

or sworn deceitfully.

Such a one shall receive blessing from the LORD,

and be vindicated by God his saviour.

Such is the fortune of those who seek him,

who seek the presence of the God of Jacob.

Lift up your heads, you gates,

lift yourselves up, you everlasting doors,

that the king of glory may come in.

Who is this king of glory?

The LORD strong and mighty,

the LORD mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, you gates,

lift them up, you everlasting doors,

that the king of glory may come in.

Who is he, this king of glory?

The LORD of Hosts, he is the king of glory.

Luke 1:26-38 (Revised English Bible):

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, with a message for a girl betrothed to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David; the girl’s name was Mary.  The angel went in and said to her,

Greetings, most favoured one!  The Lord is with you.

But she was deeply troubled by what he said and wondered what this greeting could mean.  Then the angel said to her,

Do not be afraid, Mary, for God has been gracious to you; you will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.  He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High.  The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David, and he will be king over Israel for ever; his reign shall never end.

Mary said,

How can this be?  I am still a virgin.

The angel answered,

The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; for that reason the holy child to be born will be called Son of God.  Moreover your kinswoman Elizabeth has herself conceived a son in her old age; and she who is reputed barren is now in her sixth month, for God’s promises can never fail.

Mary said,

I am the Lord’s servant; may it be as you have said.

Then the angel left her.

The Collect:

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


I grew up a low church Protestant, specifically Southern rural United Methodist.  This happened in the context of a religious culture in which the Southern Baptists (especially the fundamentalist wing of that denomination) and their ways dominated, with Cleveland, Tennessee, Church of God-ers and their ilk not far behind.  This was a religious milieu in which the Mother of Our Lord and Savior received insufficient attention.

For a long time I did not pay her enough respect.  I have changed my ways since becoming an Episcopalian, however, for I am “one step from Rome,” as an old, fun ditty says.  (“I am an Anglican; I’m TEC;/I’m not high church, nor low church/but Catholic and Protestant and free.  I’m not a Luth’ran,/nor a Presby,/nor a Baptist white with foam./I am an Anglican, just one step from Rome./I am an Anglican, just one step from Rome.”–sung to the tune of “God Bless America,” by the way)  Now the Hail Mary is part of my prayer life.

Jesus became the man he did in large part because of who Mary was.  May we honor her, the Mother of God, the Theotokos, and in some way the spiritual mother of us all.


Written on June 3, 2010


O Blessed Mother,

How did you feel when

You learned you were pregnant

Outside of wedlock?


O Blessed Mother,

How did you feel when

The anonymous, thronging crowds

Ignored you in your hour of need in Bethlehem?


O Blessed Mother,

How did you feel when

You experienced birth pangs,

As well as the stresses of parenthood?


O Blessed Mother,

How did you feel when

Your eldest son confused you,

Then seemed to reject you?


O Blessed Mother,

How did you feel when

You watched your eldest son die?


O Blessed Mother,

How did you feel when

You buried your eldest son?


O Blessed Mother,

How did you feel when

You discovered your resurrected son?


O Blessed Mother,

How did you feel when

You ascended and became

Queen of Heaven?


O Blessed Mother,

Strong and humble,

Faithful and human,

Intercede for us.


Kenneth Randolph Taylor

May 30, 1997


Posted September 15, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2023-2024, December 20, Episcopal Church Lectionary

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