Father, thank you for this joyous time where we gather together to celebrate Jesus Christ. The herald the arrival of our Savior, veiled in flesh. In this deep season of Advent, we not only anticipate Christ’s entrance into this world, but we also look forward to his return. And it’s a season for reflection. A season to assess how our hearts have prepared room for Christ in our lives. To consider the ways we’ve sought to find joy in Christ. And we’d be honest to admit there have certainly been times where instead of preparing room, or clearing room out, we’ve effectively said, “Sorry, no room here.” And there’s been times we’ve sought joy in worldly pursuits rather than in the pursuit of Christ. We’ve exchanged the goodness that is the gift of this newborn king for whatever. Father, forgive us. Forgive us for crowding up the spaces in our lives where Christ should reign. Forgive us for seeking to derive our joy from things that wither and fade. There’s a child born in Bethlehem who lies in a manger, beginning the journey towards a cross that will be the instrument of his death for his glory and our sin. Spirit help us to reflect on the reality that God’s Son was born to die. He was foretold by the prophets, heralded by the angels, and now we wait with anticipation for his return. And as we wait, help us to rejoice in the work he’s done, and long for the work he is going to do. May we have ultimate joy in his unfailing and unending love for us. It’s in the wondrous name of Jesus Christ we have gathered and in his name we pray all these things, Amen.
Almighty God, we gather today to praise your Name and to celebrate your coming birth, for you were born to give us life. We lift our voices together with the angels in singing hallelujah, as we prepare our hearts for the everlasting joy that your birth has brought us. Father, we acknowledge that all too often we allow our joy to be dictated by external circumstances. We often allow the stress of this world and the times that we are living in to dictate the posture of our hearts. We fail to recognize the beauty of the child lying in the manger, and the grace that you offer through your death on the cross. Forgive us for not opening our eyes to you, Jesus. Prepare our hearts for your arrival; and most importantly, for your return. Lord help us to realize that the things of this world cannot sustain the peace or provide the joy that we seek. Help us to fix our eyes on you, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, and help us not to lose sight of the abundant gift of life that we have in you, our Savior. We pray God, that your Spirit would stir our affections for you. Help us to be changed by the words you have for us, and allow us to abide in the perfect peace that your love provides, for it is there and only there that we will find true and everlasting joy. It is in the beautiful name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, that we pray all of these things this morning. And all God’s children said…Amen.
Father God, we eagerly anticipate the celebration of you sending your one and only son, Jesus to earth this time of year. We thank you for that loving gift. We thank you for his perfect life, death, and resurrection so that we may be with you forever. Please be with us this morning. Open our hearts to hear your truth. In Jesus’ saving name we pray, Amen.
Lord we give you thanks and praise for this day that you have given us. We rejoice that we can come and worship you for that is what our hearts truly need. To be near you and to be centered on you this is the place of peace and rest that our souls crave. It is a peace that only you can provide. The battles and violence that are a passing news story on our feed, are also within us. But you came to win the war. You came to bring the reconciliation we need and now Lord we can rest despite the chaos and turbulence that we see outside our walls and feel within our hearts. Father, We pray for peace for our world. For the nations that are raging against one another seemingly without end, we ask for your mighty hand to bring peace. And For our nation, we pray for peace. Help us to forbear one with another despite our different views and forgive us for our hostility and hatred towards each other. And for our church, we pray for peace. Create a unity in your people that reflects you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And father we ask for peace within our souls. For we know that this is where it begins. Thank you for the salvation and restoration we have received through Jesus Christ the one we worship here today!
Father, thank you for this time where we gather together to celebrate that Jesus, our Lord and Savior, came to earth to dwell among us and shine his light into our world. He came that we who sin may be freed of its grip and stain. Lord, we’ve sought strength, while you came in weakness. We’ve chased the material, but you give what is lasting. We’ve foolishly allowed our desires to lead us into a dark wilderness. We celebrate Christ’s birth, but think little of his return. We’ve stirred strife rather than sought his peace. Lord, forgive us. Forgive us for all the ways in which we’ve allowed our hearts to linger on and long for the things of this world rather than on the child born in such humble and lowly estate. Forgive us for the often casual and cavalier way we treat your gracious gifts of Savior and salvation. In this season of giving, you give us the greatest gift of all: yourself. And this precious and holy gift came not wrapped in finely printed paper or works of pageantry, but wrapped in flesh, humble, in the quiet and simple radiance of a child’s face. Help us to understand this mystery of love beyond all loves. Spirit, help us to remember the birth of Jesus, so we may share in the wonder of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the Magi. May Christmas morning make us happy to be your children, and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ glory and our good. And while we celebrate his birth, may we also long for his return. It’s in the wondrous name of Jesus Christ we have gathered and in his name we pray all these things, Amen.