God of all Grace and Peace,
as we continue this advent journey,
we come to you in all honesty and courage
to lift up to you our souls that we might be heard
and your good works proclaimed.
We pray to you especially this day for those who find this season difficult,
for those for whom “’tis the season” rings empty in broken hearts,
for those who have lost loved ones and for those whose loved ones suffer.
We pray to you for those, like Joseph and Mary, who are social outcasts.
We acknowledge that we often do not recognize many in this world
because they don’t look like us,
because they don’t have money like us,
because they don’t act like us,
because they don’t believe like us.
We ask your help to acknowledge the humanity in all persons
so that, unlike Joseph and Mary, they might have a place to stay,
a place to call home, a place to spend the night.
We pray for pastors, choir directors, church workers,
and all others for whom this is not always a season of sabbath,
but a season of increased work.
May the work they do be blessed and be given as an offering to your holy name.
We pray for those who suffer from physical and mental illnesses,
for those who suffer from depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, and bi-polar disorder,
for those who have been diagnosed with cancer and other ailments,
for those whose physical disabilities keep them isolated from others.
We pray for those who need your light the most.
We pray especially for those in our hearts,
which we name before you in silence or out loud…
In all goodness and mercy,
hear our prayers this day, O Lord,
and remember your promise to keep us and to save us.
Through the reign of your Son, and the power of your Holy Spirit,
lead us with joy, in the light of your glory,
with the mercy and righteousness that comes only from you. Amen.
Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY