Prayer for the 1st Sunday in Advent…

Funny thing, Lord – it doesn’t quite feel like New Year’s.

But that’s where we find ourselves today, isn’t it?

The first Sunday in Advent – the very beginning of

the church calendar.

Starting over.

Looking back at the beginning again.

Yet also looking forward,

even leaning forward,

with anticipation and expectation and hope.

That’s what Advent is for us, Lord, and we’re so grateful for it.

And for the promise this season brings –

the promise of good things still to come,

the promise of the manger,

the promise of you – visiting us in some new way,

coming to us with your arms wide open,

ready to meet us, right where we live.

But… I have to admit that it’s sometimes tough to slide into the spirit

of this wonderful season when it comes

so close on the heels of the holiday just past –

we’re still full from all the feasting,

we’re still dizzy from all the football,

we’re still dealing with the aftermath of family

gatherings and conversations –

some of which were wonderful and refreshing;

some of which were exhausting and complicated.

So. Today – this morning – right now –

as we sit here with our heads bowed and our spirits quiet,

remind us again of why we ‘do’ Advent here.

Tell us the old, old story,

and open our hearts to hear it anew.

Whisper to us of starry nights,

and shepherds,

and wise men coming from faraway places.

Sing to us – and teach us to sing to one another – about

crowded inns,

and strange dreams,

and, O Lord, remind us about the angels!

Your special envoys, messengers come to tell us Big News,

Good News.

Help us to hear what the angels have to say –

what they have to say, certainly, to the lead players in the Christmas story of long ago Bethlehem –

and what they have to say to us,

today, right here, right now.

Bless and encourage our pastor Don as he brings us your word of hope this 1st Sunday in Advent.

For that is our primary prayer this morning, Lord:

hope –

building that hope on the sure foundation of your word,

living that hope in the nitty-gritty of every day

decision making,

and relationship building,

and kid-tending,

and school assignments,

and jobs;

and sharing that hope in the hard places of our lives,

offering it to those who seem to have little of it.

So, Lord God, as we take in

the scent of this beautiful tree

and enjoy the beauty of our first lit candle,

and as we begin to move ourselves,

both literally and figuratively,

from the colors of autumn to the colors of Christmas,

call us again to hope,

hope in you.

Take the gifts we’ve brought today and multiply

them in the miraculous way that only you can do.

Build your kingdom in this world, Lord,

and use us and our gifts to help do that!

And build your kingdom in us –

heal our diseases,

bind up our broken hearts,

forgive our sins,

transform our very beings so that we might

look more and more like Jesus,

who is – as trite as it sounds! – the reason for the season,

and in whose name we pray today,


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