“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.”
Comforting God of us all,
Oh, how we need your abiding peace. A peace that only you can give as we navigate this season in our homes, our relationships, our jobs, our neighborhoods, and our world.
God, you say “comfort, comfort,” and yet we feel the bristle of thorns in our sides. You say, “Do not be afraid,” yet we cannot help but feel overcome by fear as we see so many hurting.
God, we pray to you as we light our Hanukkah menorahs and our Advent candles that you may cover us in your comfort. As we look to you, the light of the world, we pray that peace may overcome us even in the midst of a weary world.
Today, we lift up those whose Hanukkah and Advent seasons look different this year. We pray also for those in Israel and Palestine, of any heritage or religion, who will not be covered in peace this day. As we hear unfathomable stories of sexual and physical violence, we pray for those who will never be the same.
We pray for your children in Kaduna state, northwest Nigeria, after at least 85 civilians were killed in an air strike as they celebrated Mawlid al-Nabi (the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad). As we witness such needless acts of violence in our world, we pray that your comfort may cover us all.
We pray for a young man who had to flee his home in Ethiopia after a wave of homophobic hatred was unleashed against him, just because he danced at a party. We pray that one day, we will all be able to be who we are and every space will be affirming.
We pray for comfort for those everywhere, as natural disasters and weather affect the lives of so many. We pray for those near Indonesia‘s Marapi volcano eruption, as 11 climbers died and many more are missing. We pray for those facing major storms in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. We pray for your peace in the midst of the storms.
For some of us, fear and danger are ever-present. Others of us cannot imagine the lack of peace and comfort that so many in our world experience. As an abundance of fear overcomes us, we pray that your comfort may keep us going. May we, too, choose to comfort others instead of questioning, hurting, and causing emotional violence. May we capture your voice and hold it for ourselves as we lean into your comfort.
In your name, we pray.