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.