Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Rochester, Pennsylvania
Henry Doktorski, III

December 20, 2015—4th Sunday of Advent

“Visitation” from Altarpiece of the Virgin (St Vaast Alterpiece) by Jacques Daret (c. 1435), at the Staatliche Museen, Berlin.

In today’s Gospel (Luke 1:39-45), Mary, the mother of Jesus, while pregnant with child, visits her elder cousin Elizabeth (who happens to also be pregnant, with John the Baptist) in a small town in the Judean hill country. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Mary ecstatically responded to Elizabeth with what today we call the Magnificat, or Canticle of Mary:

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.

Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.

His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.

He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.

Our Offertory anthem today is the popular Advent carol, “The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came,” an old Basque carol with text paraphrased by Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924). In the text, the Angel Gabriel announces to Mary—“O lowly maiden, most highly favored lady”—that she will give birth to a son, “Emmanuel, by seers foretold.” Mary responds with great humility, “To me be as it pleaseth God. My soul shall laud and magnify God’s holy name.”

To hear “The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came” sung by the choir of Kings College, Cambridge:


Micah 5:2-5a (From Bethlehem comes a ruler)
Luke 1:46b-55 (You, Lord, have lifted up the lowly.)
Psalm 80:1-7 (Let your face shine upon us, and we shall be saved.)
Hebrews 10:5-10 (I have come to do your will)
Luke 1:39-45 [46-55] (Blessed are you among women / My soul magnifies the Lord)

Music & Hymns
2nd Service, 10:45 a.m.

Gathering LBW 29 Comfort, Comfort Now My People
Hymn of the Day LBW 72 Twas in the Moon of Wintertime
Offertory Anthem The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came (Basque Carol) WOV 632
Communion WOV 628 Each Winter as the Year Grows Older
Sending WOV 626 People Look East


Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version (Zonderfan: 1989)
LBW: Lutheran Book of Worship (Augsburg Publishing House: 1978)
WOV: With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress: 1995)
W&P: Worship & Praise Songbook (Augsburg Fortress: 1999)
ELW: Evangelical Lutheran Worship (Augsburg Fortress: 2006)
GIA Publications:


Notes from the Music Director (No. 23)