Holy One, as we near the end of our Advent journey, remain with us. In a world filled with fear and division, you bring healing and unity. As we prepare to kneel before the manger in Bethlehem once again, remove the layers of apathy, ambivalence, and cynicism that we’ve picked up throughout the year. We remember your promises of Love and forgiveness – good news and great joy. Yet, we have traveled far from your holy high way where all are welcome. Grant us the courage to follow you all the way to the Christ child who waits for us in a lowly stable.
Many of us are weary and overwhelmed in the face of pandemic and White supremacist culture and all it’s ramifications. We want to love our neighbors and often find it a challenge when they won’t get vaccinated or acknowledge the racism that racism is embedded in all our systems. Worse, many of our neighbors believe that you sanction White supremacy and they dismiss the need for repentance and reparations. Renew us with the light of your Love, a love that truly leaves no one out and leads us to sing your praise while our souls leap at the recognition of you in the face of another.
We think of Mary’s words of praise and wonder if our spirits might rejoice in you. She, in a moment of wisdom, trusted you. May, we too, live in that trust. We tend to see only the proud and powerful and forget that your Love has the power to scatter oppressors and topple empires. We see our neighbors with so much need and try not to look into their eyes as we pass by. Yet, your Love raises up the lowly. Our streets are lined with those who are hungry. When will we remember that your Love leads us to nurture and care for them, while chasing away those who have no need? May we remember your promises and trust you enough to embody them now, not later when it might be more comfortable for us.
God of Light and Life, hear our prayers in these last days of Advent. We are filled with longings and dreams, yearnings and hopes. Some of us are full of sadness, grief, and loss, more of us than ever before. While you guide us for the remainder of our journey, show us how to bring your Light of hope, peace, joy, and love to those who mourn, to those who feel lost and alone, to those who are forgotten and overlooked, to those who live with addictions and other mental health challenges. May we embody you in such a way that shares your love and saves lives this Christmas. Keep us on this journey and fill us with humility enough to bring us to our knees at the birth of your son. In this moment, we fully acknowledge that we need your saving love so that we might be agents of love and forgiveness in the world.
Be patient with us as we make our way to Bethlehem this year.
In your holy name we pray. Amen.
RCL – Advent 4C – December 19, 2021 – Micah 5:2-5a • Luke 1:46b-55 or Psalm 80:1-7 • Hebrews 10:5-10 • Luke 1:39-45, (46-55)