November 30, 2015
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead [your people] like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth.
A PRAYER FOR THE OPENING OF ADVENT
Come, Holy Spirit, and inaugurate Advent in our midst. Come and open up the book of a new year of our Lord. Lift our hearts to long for your coming and deepen our longing to imagine your kingdom.
We confess—Advent, the season of holy anticipation, has become for us a sign of anxiety. Like Martha, we busy ourselves with so many things, preparing for a celebration of our own design. We confess—our attention has become distraction. Our hearts, minds, and souls are divided as we literally surf the channels of our consumeristic culture. “Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isa. 64:8). Begin anew this Advent to shape us. Make us like Mary to sit at the feet of our Lord Jesus and discover the only necessary thing: your Presence. Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved. Shape these days of Advent into a season of undivided attention, of holy anticipation.
As we sing of peace on Earth and good will to all people, open our ears to hear the mournful songs of a war-torn world: the unquenchable cries of ordinary families like our own whose losses are beyond our ability to comprehend. As we prepare to wrap the countless gifts our children will open on Christmas morning, open our hearts to the countless children for whom Christmas morning will be yet another day to survive. Lead us to respond to you in remembering those who will otherwise receive nothing, who are orphaned, whose parents are dead, distant, or imprisoned. Open our eyes to see those neighbors nearest to us who are lonely, afraid, sick, and suffering. We confess—our lifestyles have become enclaves of escape from the pain and suffering that surrounds us. “Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isa. 64:8). Let this year be different, Lord. Shape our attention in these days of Advent into a lifestyle of love for neighbor and the needy.
“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead [your people] like a flock.! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth” (Ps. 80:1). “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence” (Isa. 64:1). As we remember and celebrate the birth of the baby in Bethlehem, let us not forget that the King is returning. We confess—we have made ourselves at home in a world that is not our home. We know a time is coming when the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give us light, when the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. We know the Son of Man will come on the clouds with great power and glory and he will send out his angels to gather his elect from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven (see Mark 13:24–27). Stir in our hearts a holy anticipation for the world to come, and an undying urgency for the world that is passing away. By your Spirit, make us watchful and wakeful. For, “O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isa. 64:8).
Come, Holy Spirit, and inaugurate Advent in our midst. Come and open up the book of a new year of our Lord.
We pray in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
NOTE TO READERS:
In case you missed the update Sunday here’s the plan. James was the not the best idea for Advent. We will begin that Jan 1. This week, I will be running the first week of Not Yet Christmas: It’s Time for Advent, a book I put together last year. If you would like to continue through Christmas I am inviting you to get your copy of the book here (SoftCover or Digital) Use the code DTADVENT for a 25% discount. And the offer stands, if you can’t afford a book at this time email me and I will be glad to send you a copy on the house.
- If Advent is not the Christmas Season. . . . . what kind of season is it?
- How will Advent be different for you and your family this year?
- State the intention of your heart and mind as you move forward into this season of following Jesus.
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J.D. Walt serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. firstname.lastname@example.org.