Comfort, O comfort my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that she has served her term,
that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the LORD’S hand
double for all her sins.
A voice cries out:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
We come before you, still reverberating with thanksgivings for our many blessings, still warm from celebrations with family and friends, still full with good food and shared memories. For these things and many more we give you thanks.
It is Advent, and we have entered a season of waiting.
We wait for you, O God – longing for the peace that might come in the midst of this busy season. Bring a calm to our families and our rituals that they might remind us of you. Bring a restraint to our spending, that we might remember the austere nature of your birth. Bring a balance to our lives in this time, that we might keep you at the heart of all things, in all moments.
O God, we wait for you – longing for the ways in which you might bring justice to our world. We pray for places of war and violence, that you might pour your peace upon them, that you might lift in each of us a love and understanding of each other, that we might see the face of Christ in our enemies eyes and begin a new way of dealing with our differences.
We pray for those in our world who endure oppression and bullying…that our world might be transformed into a world where the weak and lowly are lifted up and the powerful are brought low, that love might prevail over hearts and minds, and that our eyes see and our hands reach out to the pained and powerless.
O God, we wait for you – longing for the ways in which you might bring healing to our bodies. We pray for those battling cancer or recovering from surgeries, we pray for the frail, for the addicted, for the mentally challenged, for the sick. Let each of these find well-being in you, that wholeness might be found and felt. May the touch of compassionate hands bring healing, may the attention of friends or family bring hope, may our love surround them and bring them peace.
O God, we wait for you – a light in the darkness, a hope in the long night. We pray for all for whom this season is more dark than light: for the grieving, the depressed, the lonely, those long suffering, those desperately seeking hope. Break into their world and ours and show us your love that endures all things and bears all things, your light that is not overcome by darkness, your hope that saves.
Comfort us, O God, in our waiting. Comfort us O God, in our suffering. Comfort us, but let us not get too comfortable, that we might ever fight for justice and the way of love. Comfort us, O God, and let us be comforting. In the name of Jesus Emmanuel, who comes into this world to be with us. Amen.