need an opening prayer? A shortened prayer of confession/reconciliation? A preface for the prayers of the people? Here you go:
God, we are ready for hope. We long for the light of hope to shine in our lives. Yet as we rush through our days, we fail to see the hope-filled gifts you’ve given us. Help us slow down. Enter our hearts with a gentle reminder of the hope you bring. Open our eyes to the many blessings we’ve received so that we can turn toward others and share your gifts of hope.
God, we are ready for peace. We long to receive the Prince of Peace in our world. Yet as we fill our lives with holiday projects, family activities and everyday tasks, we find it hard to make the time to welcome the light of peace. We need your help, O God. Guide us along the path toward healing and grace. Kindle the flame of your peace within us, so that each day, each moment, we can shine the light of your love.
God, we are ready for joy. We long to be filled with your joyful good news. Yet as even as we dream of the days when the hungry will be filled and the oppressed will be freed, we worry about what we might have to give up so that all your people can have enough. Give us courage to set aside our privilege. Give us strength to help bring about a world where everyone can sing songs of joy.
God, we are ready for love. We long to be held in your gentle and loving care. Yet even as we plan and prepare to celebrate the birth of our loving Savior, we find ourselves exhausted and unable to offer a moment to a friend in need. Touch our hearts and renew us with your love. Remind us that your gracious gift of love is the greatest gift of all. Help us share your loving presence with those around us.
Submitted by Rev. Debra Avery, First Presbyterian Church, Oakland CA.