Prayers of the People—December 18
Will we remember the scandal of it all when we find the infant?
Will we remember the fear and the thrill that came to Joseph in dreams?
Will we be able to “be strong” and “Prepare to be lost to the people and places who know you” as he was?
Will we remember the pain of it all when we see the young mother neglected and walking the streets alone and afraid?
Will we remember the distress of it all when wise men fear for their lives rather than confront leaders?
Will we remember the grace of it all when you, God, take a crib rather than a palace and place yourself at the mercy of the earth, braving the malice while trusting the kindness of humans?
God, we may not remember the stories of old. We confess, it is sometimes too hard to leave the shelter of our planned lives when you call. Help us hear your word, that in hearing, our lives may be transformed like Joseph was by his dream. May we be as humbled and then as brave as Mary who lived beyond anyone’s expectations.
Forgive us for our selfishness and egos, for those times we wronged another or just did not do what was possible. Make us new each day through your grace and goodness, so that we live in new ways.
We pray for the people of Syria. Those who remain in fear of their lives, those who are fleeing in fear for their lives, those who are far from home. Cripple the aggression. Silence the hate. Bring about a truce to be trusted, one hour, one day, one week.
We pray for those among us who are traveling, give them safe passage and return. Do not let any distance between us be felt in hearts.
Let your arm of comfort rest on those who are sick, suffering from long-term illnesses and decline, and those who are dying. Bring healing as you will. Bring comfort to families as they care for others.
Finally, we pray for ourselves. In this season of lists of wants, we offer now to you those desires most dear to us….
Joining our voices with those through the ages, we pray together.
 Prayer adapted from David D Ogston, “The Cost of it All” Scots Worship: Advent, Christmas and Epiphany (Edinburgh: St Andrews Press, 2014) 69.