Our loving and gracious God,
We can think of no greater gift than the love that you show us through the birth of your son Jesus Christ and this brings us incredible joy. We are thankful that our advent journey is bringing us closer and closer to the day when we will celebrate anew the birth of Christ and we continue to wait with eager anticipation the joy that this occasion will bring us. Lord, we know that the joy that comes from knowing you is much deeper than a passing happiness. There are many things in our world that create fear, anger, sadness, and concern but even in the midst of these difficult and troubling times we look to the redemption that is ours through Christ and long for the whole world to know this.
Lord, we live in a world that is marked by conflict, war, racism, prejudicial attitudes, disease, and poverty. And so dear God, we pray for Congo as they seek a peaceful way ahead after a contentious election and ask that peaceful measures can be taken for justice and democracy to prevail. Protect the innocent people who get caught in the crossfire of political maneuvering and may the emergent leaders have a vision for providing a safe, peaceful place for the people to live. Lord, we pray for Russia and the city of Moscow, also caught up in election turmoil and again, ask for peaceful solutions and productive outcomes from these demonstrations. Lord, we pray for all nations seeking to hold peaceful and fair elections, that violent outbreaks will be avoided, that fair and good leaders might be elected to lead these nations to a better future.
Lord, we know that here in our own city the foment of hatred and prejudice against the immigrant community was alive yesterday and we pray dear God that through your love, we can help all people see the value and worth of each human being, that all might come to embrace the reality that we have been created to live in peace with one another, to care for one another, to treat one another with respect and dignity rather than tear one another down. Lord, our spirits are weary and troubled by these issues that seem to continually plague our world and we wonder in the midst of the conflict if any truly lasting, healthy solution can come. And yet, we continue to cry out to you to intervene...we ask that you work in each of our lives that we might be agents of change, a presence of love, compassion and tolerance, that through us, your chosen ones, we can represent Christ well in our places of work, in our schools, in our city.
Lord, in light of these realities, joy seems a bit far off. And yet we are reminded once again that our joy comes not from anything the world brings, but instead, comes from your steady, faithful presence in our lives. Our joy comes from knowing Jesus, whose love is incomprehensible yet fully available, whose death and resurrection brings salvation from our darkness and ushers us into a life that is filled with light and hope. Lord, may our joy be rooted in who you are, a God who cares deeply for his creation. May we not lose hope but instead be empowered to give witness to the joy that is ours even in the face of difficult circumstances.
Lord, we continue to ask that you Come, Come Lord Jesus, Come into our world, Come into our lives, Come into every heart bringing comfort, peace, joy and hope. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.