Advent 3 2019 pastoral prayer
In this third week of Advent, we remember that the good news of Jesus’ birth has the power to bring us great joy this Christmas season. Our joy isn’t dependent on what is going on in our life, in our world, or the people that we are with. It doesn’t depend on the gifts we give or the gifts we find under the tree. No earthly thing can ever give us complete joy. Our joy comes from you. The joy that flooded the hearts of the shepherds, the angels, the wise men, the hosts of heaven, and Mary and Joseph is the joy that still has the power to overwhelm our hearts with rejoicing.
The shepherds and wise men trusted in your promises. Their hearts were filled with gladness as they watched your lovingkindness manifested in the face of a tiny baby in a lowly manger.
Father, you offer that same joy to us now. Help us to understand that our joy is a gift. It is the gift that you gave us that first Christmas in Jesus Christ. Our joy is encompassed in our Saviour, King Jesus. Flood our hearts with joy this Advent season as we reflect on the good news of Jesus’ birth.
In our world today, and in our hearts – it’s not necessarily all joy and light. There’s darkness there, too.
For all who have a song they cannot sing,
For all who have a burden they cannot bear,
For all who live in chains they cannot break,
For those who are not well, and for those who care for them,
For those who live in hunger, and for those who will not share their bread,
For those who are misunderstood, and for those who misunderstand,
For those whose words of love are locked within their hearts, and for those who yearn to hear those words.
Show us the Way, O God, for we your people walk in darkness.
Let something wonderful begin in us – something surprising and holy.
May your hand be upon us. Let your love fill us. Let your joy overwhelm us.
Let our longing for you be met on a coming holy night: Immanuel with us once again.
Let’s pray together the family prayer Big Jesus taught us:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and forever. Amen.