December 23, 2012
Fourth Sunday of Advent
On this fourth Sunday of Advent, we pray that you would visit those who feel beyond the reach of Christmas, those whose spirits are so cast down that they cannot even lift up their needs in prayer. Let us feel your warm presence in our wintry hearts. Remind us that even in the dark times, the sky is not empty. Let us hear the angel chorus and see the bright light of your presence.
Grant your gracious care on our homes. If there are some here who feel the foundations of their families shaken; if tempers have been short, if harsh works have been spoken, if patience has vanished into this damp gray winter day, give us the gift of peace. Remind us that you trusted your only son to the love and care of an ordinary family. Let that mystery so transform our hearts and minds that our homes will be open to such a blessed gift.
We pray for thy guiding hand on our nation and on all the nations. So long ago the angels sang their song of peace, make it real for us now. We ask for an end to hatred and strife. Remind us that every soul belongs to thee, that we are sisters and brothers, and teach us the deep lessons of love and peace and justice without which there is no hope for humankind.
Remind us, too, that we are joined today by others whom we cannot see. Those dear departed whom we have loved and lost are alive in thee. Though they are absent here, though nothing can fill the empty spaces in our hearts, remind us that they are not lost to your love. Let us feel their presence as the brush of angel’s wings. Let us hear them as a heavenly host. And let the remembrance of their love warm our hearts.
We ask these things in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray together with sisters and brothers all across the whole human family, joining in that great prayer of world community, praying as he prayed: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
*This prayer borrows from Harry Emerson Fosdick’s, “A Book of Public Prayers,” 1959.