Prayers of the People
—December 18

God of blinding light off winter snow, God of cold winter winds and wild hopes for warmth: we come before you humbled by the power of your creation, and see your majesty at work. As we watch these snowy days unfurl, open our eyes to the tenderness of the earth: the most vulnerable creatures bending under the weight of the chill, the raw polar winds groaning under the pressures of pollution and environmental destruction. Let our hope become action, and persuade us toward love.

Across the oceans, in a place that seems worlds away, we, too, watch war unfurl. We pray for Syria, and for all in Aleppo. We pray for those longing to escape, and for those whose spirits sag under the burden of death. We pray that you might turn the unending bloodshed toward a lasting peace, softening the hearts of those coerced into assault, and break the patterns of violence that perpetuate terror. Turn us, too, toward action, so that we might not be bystanders to such fear and trembling.

In our own lives, O God, let the expectations of Advent—love, joy, peace, and hope—burrow down into the crevices of our experience of Christ. In these last days before Christmas, let an echo of joy reverberate off the places in our lives where we do find rest and peace. Let our work be calm, even amid many obligations. Let our families be storm-less, even amid the chaos. Let even our busy-ness be synchronized with the call of your love, so that every meeting, every action, every waking hour might be a tug toward the manger.

We wait, O God. We wait for love, joy, peace, and hope to be made complete. We wait for the day when weapons might be made into gardening tools and tears might be made into laughter. And, in the meantime, O God, we hope, and we watch, and we gather in the shelter of your light, for even now, your promise rings true, that light shines in the darkness, and the darkness shall not overcome it.

And now, let our voices rise in that peace that passes all understanding, as we pray with hope the prayer Jesus teaches us, saying…