Holy and Beloved God, it is hard to hope
when all seems lost. The darkness has a
way of fuzzing our vision, of taking our
eyes off of your holy light.
It’s hardest to see your light when our eyes
are shut – shut to you, shut to each other,
and shut to the suffering that is just barely
disguised by thin smiles and haunted eyes.
Yet, your light shines. Your hope abides with us,
awakening us to your love, and calling us to
share your light with each other.
Help us prepare a way for you in our hearts, that
your love might open our hearts to see you fully.
We light the 3rd candle of Advent for joy,
and pray in the name
of God, the Creator,
Christ, the Emmanuel,
and the Holy Spirit, Deliverer of Peace.
It is so easy this time of year
to just go through the motions.
We let the season of Advent become
all about obligation and consumption.
Show us a different way to
celebrate, rooted in your
vision of restoration, provision,
and healing justice.
Some of us struggle this time of year.
Expectations weigh heavy,
old wounds might open, and
grief can be overwhelming.
Comfort those of us who are hurting
this season. Teach how to make
space for suffering alongside our joy.
Give us a holiday season filled with community
and love, so that we can support one another,
wherever we are at and however we may feel.
In the name of
God, the Creator,
Christ, the Risen One,
and the Holy Spirit, the Breath of Life.
(Gina Bastone Trevino)
Sermon and Reflection
Who has loved you really well and helped you appreciate your real self?
Who in your life is out beyond their comfort zone right now and needs gentleness and love?
As we leave here today to return
to our busy lives and the hustle
and bustle of the holiday season,
remind us of who we are and what
you are doing throughout the week.
Remind us that we are known
and loved fully and completely,
and that all you expect
of us is our presence.
Remind us that you are doing miraculous
work in us and through us, and all we need
to do is stop and pay attention.
May we find joy in these truths––
joy that sustains us and renews us.
And may this joy be the true marker
of this season and all those to follow.
In the name of God, our Creator,
Christ, our Redeemer,
And the Holy Spirit, our Guide and Friend.
(Gina Bastone Trevino)
Go in peace and live the church.
See you throughout the week.
[Photo by Luca Galavotti @ Flickr]