Keeping Christ at the Heart of The Season

Hello Everyone,

We are now into Advent, the season when we anticipate and celebrate the birth of Christ. You may be familiar with Advent, or it may be new to you. It is a precious time of year that encourages us to be intentional to remember Christ and keep Him at the heart of this season.

It is my pleasure to share a very meaningful Advent prayer with you written by my friend and colleague, Liz Shaw. She is a retired pastor as well as a retired marriage and family therapist. Liz shared this prayer with me, and I was so touched by it that I want to share it with you. I encourage you to print it, and keep it nearby to remind you of the Christ in the commonplace activities of this Christmas season. Please share it with your family and loved ones, too.

An Advent Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

We confess that the Advent season is here and we are not ready.  Instead of our hearts and minds being focused on the birth and coming of Jesus Christ, we find that we are distracted by the noise and clamor of Christmas hype that bombards us and leaves us feeling rushed, empty, and aimless in the midst of endless activity.  Instead of feeling a sense of eager anticipation, gratitude, and joy at the birth of our Savior, we sometimes feel irritable, worn out, wistful, or even sad.  And we sense that we’ve lost our way, that something’s not quite right, that we need to recognize and encounter Your presence once again in our lives.

So we come to You this morning, Lord, and ask that you enable us to see and feel Christ in the commonplace activities of this Christmas season:

When we see Christmas lights on trees and houses,

Focus our attention on the Light of the World who overcomes all darkness.

When we hear familiar Christmas carols blaring over store speakers,

Help us listen to the words, to recall the Christ child for whom the carols are written, and to rejoice with all Creation in praise of the Living God.

When we’re crushed by the crowds in a shopping mall,

Bring to our minds the crowds that pressed in around Jesus, just to hear him speak, to touch his cloak, or to shout “Hosanna”.

When we choose and decorate a Christmas tree,

Help us celebrate that the Eternal Word, who created that tree and all things, became flesh and dwelt among us.

When we see a manger scene,

Guide us away from empty sentimentality and towards Jesus who was born to die on a Cross for our salvation from sins.

When we give and receive gifts from one another,

Help us give thanks for the unmerited gift of Your Only Son.

When we wrap the Christmas packages with care,

Remind us that You see through our self-protective wrappings and You love us, even when we don’t feel loved or loveable.

When we tie bows on packages,

Remind us to give thanks for the way in which Christ releases us from constraints and bondage, whether self-made or imposed by others.

When we hide the carefully wrapped packages,

Comfort us with the security that Your love is never hidden from us nor can we hide from You.

When we attend gatherings with friends, family, or co-workers,

Help us recall how Jesus could fill up a gathering with the life and light of His presence.

When memories of past Christmases flood us with feelings of regret for what never was or sadness for people no longer with us,

Comfort us with Your love which understands sorrow and loneliness.

When we see a poinsettia,

Let its red color recall, for us, the blood of Christ and let its aliveness remind us of the hope of resurrection and the new life which is ours in Jesus Christ.

When we sit near a warmly glowing fireplace,

Let us experience the warmth of Your love for us.

And so we ask, Lord, that You transform our hearts and minds during this Advent season so that we may see and experience the Presence of the Living Christ, as never before.  Help us to delight in the true meaning and joy of Christ’s birth and to be filled with a sense of awe and eager anticipation, like that we witness in the shining eyes and trusting spirits of little children.

We ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thanks so much Liz, for sharing your God inspired prayer with us. Your words draw us to Christ this Advent season.

Liz Shaw is a retired pastor having served in chaplaincy, youth & singles ministry and for Fuller Seminary, Sacramento prior to becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist. Liz is has two adult sons and loves being a grandma to her 2 year old grandson whom she and her husband care for two days a week.

 

4 thoughts on “Keeping Christ at the Heart of The Season

  1. Beautiful prayer and so timely for all of us. I am encouraged this year as I am hearing more and more store clerks and shoppers wishing each other a Merry Christmas. Of course, I am not out and about that often, and usually it is just to Kaiser and a few stores where I can do one-stop shopping. Our family is small and we don’t exchange gifts any longer. That has made the season easier to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, that of Jesus. The activities in and through the church are many and varied, and they provide plenty of opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus within the church family and out in the community. Decorating in minimal, but meaningful. The lighted Nativity is the focus and adds a warm glow to the main part of our home.
    May each of your days as we move toward the day we have chosen as the birth of Jesus be filled with blessings both large and small.
    Love to you both.

    1. Ann, so lovely to hear from you. It was soothing to hear you describe the ways you have adjusted to celebrating Christmas. What a beautiful picture to visualize the lighted nativity at the center of your home. Many blessings to you and your family too! Merry Christmas!

  2. Thank you Kim for sharing this. It brings to light how we tend to wander from the true meaning of Christmas. You’re such an encouraging light in my life. I also have PF and live daily relying on Jesus to get me through this. Praying for you my friend. Merry Christmas. ✝️🙏✝️

  3. “. . . .And so we ask, Lord, that You transform our hearts and minds during this Advent season so that we may see and experience the Presence of the Living Christ, as never before. Help us to delight in the true meaning and joy of Christ’s birth and to be filled with a sense of awe and eager anticipation, like that we witness in the shining eyes and trusting spirits of little children. . . . .We ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”

    . . . .Beautiful and thank you so much Liz. . . . . “Lord, that You transform our hearts and minds during this Advent season” —Absolutely!!!

    . . . People always say to me: faith is taking the first step when you can’t see the whole staircase. . . . .But, maybe, wisdom is seeing the elevator behind it that would have taken us all the way to the top floor (transformation: to experience what isn’t, truly love what is). Maybe, —maybe it is not until we change our identity to match our life blueprint in Christ that we will understand why everything in the past never “worked.” . . . .We believe that in reducing the scope and importance of our errors, we are being properly humble; in truth, maybe we are just merely unwilling to bear the weight of our true responsibility in Christ.

    “Remind us that You see through our self-protective wrappings and You love us, even when we don’t feel loved or loveable.” . . . .God has this miraculous, saving love for us! —Stand or fall is an upward experience in Christ!!! 🎄🌹 ✝ރ♥☺ ⌘

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