Father God of Advent, all praise and glory belong to you. For you have stepped down out of heaven and walked into our lives with the coming birth of the Christ child. Help us to prepare our hearts for him lest we miss the joy of his arrival. For you have taught us that joy is the best witness our lives can make to a world that has lost the capacity for the beauty from which joy springs.
Your apostle Paul exhorts us to rejoice in the Lord in all things. Yet we find our lives so filled with other things that joy often becomes only a word we hear echoing in hymns. This Christmas we pray:
- That the joy in our hearts might be genuine
- That what others see in our lives might lead them to the manger
- That our witness to the world might be one of peace not chaos
- Grant us the grace to find space in our busy lives this year for prayer, prayer that renews our souls and restores our priorities
- Forgive any impediments within us that would deny us the experience of joy.
We pray not only for ourselves, but for others in this holiday season. Give this war-torn world a vision of the Prince of Peace. We pray for those who have suffered loss of someone they love to disease or to death. Teach us again that genuine joy is no stranger to affliction and suffering. Help us all to be aware that we walk not alone through the inevitable heart break this life will bring but that you are at our side, helping us to grieve not as those who have no hope but as those who have tasted the salvation that the Christ child brings. Enable each of us to sing from our hearts, “Joy to the World, the Lord has come.”
For it is in his name we pray….
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” (Luke 2:14)
By William Wallof
Prayers of the People: A Collection