Lord help us to understand with our hearts that you are coming, always coming. Help us to recognize that Life is Advent.
-Henri Nouwen (1932-1996)
Prayer of the Bible
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins. A voice of one calling: "In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’”
(Free expression of praise and thanksgiving to God)
Confession of Sin
Come, Thou precious Ransom, come,
Only Hope for sinful mortals!
Come, O Savior of the world!
Enter now my waiting heart,
Glorious King and Lord most holy.
Dwell in me and never depart,
-Hymn: Come Thou Precious Ransom
(Time of silence for confession of sin)
The Coming of Jesus
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
(Think deeply on the life of Jesus)
Prayers for Ourselves and Others
This is the confidence we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
-1 John 5:15
(Time to bring before God our own needs and the needs of others)
Every year we celebrate the holy season of Advent, O God. Every year we pray those beautiful prayers of longing and waiting, and sing those lovely songs of hope and promise. Every year we roll up all our needs and yearnings and faithful expectation into one word: “Come!” And yet, what a strange prayer this is! After all, you have already come and pitched your tent among us. You have already shared our life with its little joys, its long days of tedious routine, its bitter end. Could we invite you to anything more than this with our “Come”? Could you approach any nearer to us than you did when you became the “Son of Man”? In spite of all this we still pray: “Come.”