There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars.
We have walked and lived in darkness, but we have seen a great light…
For a child has been born for us, a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The Wise Men and shepherds saw signs that foretold
Jesus’ coming 2000 years ago.
Today we don’t look for a single brilliant star to follow or
for angels singing in the heavens.
We look for other signs that Jesus is with us, signs that:
…we are feeding the hungry, healing the sick,
…clothing the naked, caring for the poor,
…working for justice and righteousness in our city and in our world.
And so we watch and wait, staying alert and waiting again
for the coming of Jesus as we light the fourth candle of Advent in preparation
for that glorious day.
In prayer, let us confess to God as a community.
God of love,
all year long we are tempted to pursue stability, power and money,
yet you came in weakness, as a child.
All season long we want more of everything, more for us,
but you alone offer what is lasting.
Through the work of our Lord Jesus,
who comes among us full of grace and truth,
forgive us, heal us, correct us.
Then open our lips,
that we may sing your praise with all the saints.
When we allow darkness to overcome the light,
forgive us, Lord.
When we reduce Christmas to plastic and tinsel,
have mercy on us, Father.
When the hardness of our hearts keep us
from seeing and believing in your Song,
let your grace fill us, O God.
Forgive our doubts
and renew our hope in Christ alone,
that we may watch and wait
and once more, hear the glad story of our Savior,
Jesus Christ, the Lord.
In the name of the Father,
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we pray.
When was a moment when you knew and experienced that God was with you?
How can we engage suffering in our lives and come along side those who are experiencing it?
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among the people,
To make music in the heart.
All in the name of the Father,
of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit.
— Howard Thurman
Go in peace and live the church.
See you throughout the week.
[Photo by Julie Tingley @ Flickr]