God of hope – on this festive day of celebration and music…during this holy season of Advent…our minds are filled with thoughts of your divine presence coming into our darkened world in the light of Jesus, your Son. Open our hearts to the good news of your grace and care….that is always seeking our good….and your love that enlivens us during this special season.
There is so much to be thankful for this time of year. In particular, we are thankful for the blessings we are free to enjoy…And we are thankful for the opportunity we have had to gather together today as a community of faith.
As well…..we are thankful for this ever-so-brief season of Advent and Christmas… when people seem to find it in their hearts to live more openly, and give more freely, and love more generously, and walk more peacefully. For this one season, the words “peace on earth” and “good will toward all people” seem to dance on every tongue…..lifting up you vision of what the world could be like if your light and limitless love were in our hearts all year long.
O God we also think today of the many who do not feel the joy of this season….We think of those who have recently lost a loved one…..Of those who have received bad news instead of good news….Of those who are healing and recovering from illness or recent medical procedures….And for those who feel alone, afraid and isolated….We pray for all of these….and for ourselves as well…….trusting in the promise of your eternal presence…..Remembering that even if this season doesn’t feel particularly happy….that it can still be filled with joy and promise….for that is the gift that the Christ Child brings — comfort and joy, peace and love, steadfastness and hope.