God of our Highest Joy,
we come to you this day as your servants,
gathered to worship you and you alone.
As we continue this Advent journey,
help us to focus on you and the coming of your son, Jesus.
Amidst the commercials, the cooking, and the company,
help us to remember the true meaning of this season:
that you would come to us in the flesh and forever live among us.
Even as we share the joy we find in you with one another,
we are mindful of those for whom joy is hard to find,
for those who don’t have enough clothes,
for those who don’t have enough food,
for those who don’t have enough (or any) shelter,
for those who don’t have enough protection and justice.
We confess that there really is “enough” for everyone,
but it is our fault that the “enough” is hoarded by few at the expense of many.
Help us to bear the good fruit that the Baptist called us to bear,
being mindful of those around us without during this season of giving.
We pray this day for those longing for spiritual renewal.
We would ask that your Holy Spirit invigorate us
that we may provide for others first
before expecting them to provide for us.
Come to this place and encourage us to do the work
to which we were baptized.
Help us to proclaim the Good News in word and in deed.
We pray this day for the hope we have found,
the peace we seek,
and the joy we will receive in your Holy name.
May we bring hope to the hopeless,
peace to the restless,
and joy to those who crave it.
We pray this day, either out loud or in our hearts, for those dear to us…
Gracious God, may the joy we find not be a commodity to be hoarded
but a gift to be shared with one another.
We thank you for your presence among us,
your creation around us,
and your providence within us,
as we continue this blessed journey. Amen.
Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY