This Sunday is the second Sunday in Advent. According to the Advent materials from Focus on the Family, this Sunday we light the second purple, or the Bethlehem Candle.
The verses to be read for today are Micah 5:2-4:
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times.
Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is labor will give birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.
He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.
And he will be their peace.
Isn't that wonderful? That Bethlehem, that little "podunk town," as Pastor Rollo used to call it, would be exalted as it became the place of the Messiah's birth?
Here's the collect for the second Sunday in Advent, from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer that we use at Alpine Anglican. I have to admit that it's my favorite collect of the entire year, and my friend Rachel, who is a Lutheran, says that her church uses it as well, and that she loves it, too. So here it is:
Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.