The first four Sundays of the Season of Announcement form a sort of forerunner of the Nativity, covering as they do the prophetic role of John the Baptist: his conception, the conception of the one he heralds, his first prophetic recognition of the one he heralds, and, today, his birth.
Sunday of the Birth of John the Baptizer
Galatians 4:21-5:1; Luke 1:57-66
I will send my herald, the Lord has said;
he will prepare the way before his Lord,
who will come to the Temple;
the herald of the covenant will come.
Be glad, O woman who never bore child;
rejoice and shout out with prophetic voice;
your child, a prophet, has come,
a covenant linking two covenants.
Rejoice, O woman who never bore child;
all neighbors share your resounding joy.
A sign of God's grace has come,
the bright star who goes before the promise.
By light of natural law and Torah
You prepared us for the Gospel light.
By prophets You spoke Your word
and by Your forerunner You showed Your way.
In the womb the Lord knew Jeremiah;
in the womb the prophet John knew his Lord.
None greater has woman borne
than he who preached the Christ while yet unborn.
Cry out, O woman who never bore child;
your child brings word of great liberation.
He will be the voice that speaks truth,
a fuller bleaching stained garments white.
Praise God, O woman who never bore child;
God is gracious -- let that be the boy's name.
An astounding birth is seen;
infinity breaks the bound of the world.
The child of wonder is the first token,
the first sign, of a glorious freedom;
he waits for the Lamb of God
and cries out for all to make way for God.
The Father sent John with a pure mission,
to herald the Son by word and by deed
in the prophetic Spirit;
O Holy Trinity, save us from sin.