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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Advent Begins

Today is the first of advent. We lit the first candle this morning and now wait and prepare with eager anticipation of the Christ child's arrival. I forgot to take a photo of our candles at church so this one from last year will have to do for today.
This is the prayer I prayed in our worship service this morning. May your advent days be filled with a heightened awareness of the light of Christ that surrounds us.

Our loving and gracious God,

We now begin the advent season with eager anticipation of the celebration of the birth of Christ. Lord, we are always aware of the presence of Christ that surrounds us but during this time of year we are reminded in specific ways of the light that Christ has brought to the world through his coming to dwell among us. As we celebrate the coming light of Christ, may we be mindful of the ways in which we too can be lights to our dark world, people of hope who bring the good news of salvation to those who so desperately need to hear it.

Lord, the advent season is a season that is filled with waiting and preparation. Our lives are filled with a range of emotions and sometimes we worry that the stressors that we face will be too much. In the midst of the demands of the next several weeks Lord, alert us to what you want to be doing in our lives. Help us to intentionally seek out quiet places where we will allow you to speak to us. Empower us to be open to the ways in which you want your light to shine in our lives that we might make a impact on the world around us. Lord, help us to be more attuned to your presence even in the midst of all that will clamor for our attention in the coming weeks.

Lord, we know that for some, this season represents hardship and pain. We pray particularly for those in our midst who are suffering from loss and perhaps wondering how they will face this advent and Christmas season without their loved one.

. We ask dear God that you send a special measure of comfort to those who are suffering from grief. Give them your hope that is rooted not in the things of this world, but rather in love and grace of Jesus Christ, a love that extends beyond the grave.

Lord, we ask that you help us all to be good stewards during this season, careful with our money, willing to spend within our means. Make us mindful of senseless consumerism that doesn’t feed our spirits and instead instill within each of us a desire to be generous and to give in tangible and servant filled ways.

Lord, for those who are ill and struggling to feel good enough to even enjoy the gifts of each new day, we ask for your healing touch. Bring encouragement where there is discouragement. Grant patience and peace where frustration boils over.

Lord, for those who feel lonely and out of sorts, we ask that you bring them comfort and companionship. May we as a church be aware of the ways in which people are isolated and seek to be a warm and welcoming presence for them. God we ask that the light of Christ shine brightly in our lives that we might be used by you to draw others to the body of Christ and find hope, healing, and friendship instead of suffering alone.

Lord, the hopes and expectations of the season are many. But the disappointments and fears of the season also abound. In the midst of all that we face in life, we pray that the promise of the Christ child will be our strong center. As we light candles and prepare for Christmas, may we be ever mindful of the ways in which Jesus is coming to us through the ordinary events of each new day. Lord, may we wait with eager anticipation our celebration of Christ’s birth, even while we celebrate the joy we have in knowing that Jesus dwells among us each and every day. We pray these things in name of Jesus, the light of the world whose presence among us we celebrate. Amen.