Saturday, December 10, 2011

An Advent Prayer of Joy

Psalm 126
A song of ascents. 
1 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,  
we were like those who dreamed.2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
   our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
   “The LORD has done great things for them.”
3 The LORD has done great things for us,
   and we are filled with joy.

 4 Restore our fortunes, LORD,
   like streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow with tears
   will reap with songs of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
   carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
   carrying sheaves with them.

Dear God,

May this morning bring us assurance of the eternal joy we have in you.  In the midst of this advent season, among all of the displays of our world we’re given a message of joy.  Bright colors and catchy songs pervade our lives and tell us we should be happy.  Yet even the coming of Christmas doesn’t end our worries in this world.  We lift our troubles before you this morning God because as much as we try to hide our suffering behind polite smiles we need you in our lives and in our world.  We pray for the day when polite smiles aren’t needed and we beam with a joy that comes from restoration. 

Be with us God as we mourn the losses in our lives.  In this season we cherish our time with loved ones, but the absence of some grows even larger in our hearts.  As we deal with physical struggles we ask for comfort.  When our bodies break down, we pray even more that you rest in our soul and give us peace.  Politics and economics bring spirit crushing anxiety when governed by the rules of the world.  We pray that you help us to practice God’s politics and live in a heavenly economy that brings life and light into our lives and the world.

Fill our mouths with laughter, fill our tongues with song, for the Lord has done great things for us.  We need look no further than our hands can reach from left to right to find proof of your faithfulness to us.  We thank you for the life-giving relationships in our lives.  Through good and bad we thank you for our friends and family.  We curse the traffic and hate the crowds this time of year, but help us to notice the friendly smiles, the people who hold a door for us or offer their spot in line.  Right after you made us you said it was good, let us remember that and hope for the day when humanity will be restored in all of the goodness in which you created us.

Until that day God may we seek your will and strive to live out all of the goodness that is in us through the grace and goodwill of your Son, Jesus.  In all of our troubles remind us that God is with us.  As we prepare ourselves for Christmas and remember the birth of Christ, help us to draw strength from the knowledge that just as you entered the world through a baby to draw us close to you, that we may continue to allow Christ into this world through us.  You have done great things for us Lord, and we are filled with joy.  Amen.

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