The anticipation is growing, O God. As Christmas draws near, the longing for redemption, for salvation, for the coming of Christ swells within us. Yet, even as the hope, peace, joy, and love grow in anticipation of the birth of Christ, we are reminded of the rugged realities of life. In the midst of our celebrations we acknowledge our pain, our fear, our grief, and our anger.
God of Hope, help us to sense your hope in the midst of grief and anguish. We remember those in Kentucky and surrounding states in the United States, where violent storms and tornadoes last weekend destroyed homes, businesses, churches, and lives. We pray for those who are grieving and those who are working to rebuild. We pray for our siblings in the southern Philippines, where super typhoon Rai is forcing thousands to take shelter and flee as the storm makes landfall.
God of Peace, help us to work for peace in a world too often marked by violence. Empower us to work for the conservation of the rich diversity of this planet even as we hear the devastating news from South Africa. Authorities have confirmed that over the course of just two weeks, twenty-four rhinos have been killed by poachers. Remind us that seeking answers can lead to significant change for the better as we celebrate the life of Italian journalist Riccardo Ehrman who died at the age of 92. Ehrman will always be remembered for asking the decisive question that led to communist East Germany opening up the Berlin Wall. May we be willing to ask those important questions which lead to liberation and life.
God of Joy, help us to find joy and comfort in the assurance of your presence, even in the darkest of days. May we sense your presence even as the numbers of COVID cases rise in many places around the world, including the United Kingdom. Be with the families of those who died in last month’s mass drowning in the English Channel. As French authorities have identified 26 of the 27 victims, we pray that the answers will help the families as they grieve. In the midst of great heartache may we find the light of your presence.
God of Love, help us to work for love and wholeness in a broken and hurting world. We continue to grieve and repent of the horrific acts of prejudice perpetrated at the residential schools in the USA and Canada. We share our grief with the families of those who were killed after a fuel tanker exploded in northern Haiti. More than 60 people died when the tanker exploded after an accident, many of the victims trying to gather the leaking fuel when it ignited. Our hearts are shattered, O God, after hearing that five children have died and four others were injured after falling from a bouncy castle that was blown into the air in Australia. Tragedy in the midst of celebration is shocking and heart-wrenching.
Draw near to us this Advent season, Holy One. Spark within our lives hope, peace, joy, and love. Empower us to co-create with you your beloved community in this, your world!