Collect: Almighty God, through John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, You once proclaimed salvation. Now grant that we may know this salvation and serve You in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
OT Reading: Is 40:1-5
Second Reading: Acts 13:13-26
Holy Gospel: Luke 1:57-80
Preface: It is truly good, right, and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, whose way John the Baptist prepared, proclaiming Him the promised Messiah, the very Lamb who takes away the sin of the world, and calling sinners to repentance that they might escape from the wrath to be revealed when He comes again in glory. Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Your glorious name, evermore praising You and saying...
Bede: It is significant that John's birth is recorded as having taken place when the days began to grow shorter, while the Lord was born as they grew longer. It was John himself who explained the meaning of this contrast when the crowd thought he was the Christ because of his great virtues, and the Lord was considered by some as only a prophet and not the Christ because of his lack of austerity. "He must increase," said John, "while I must decrease."