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God of Advent

By Pauline Dakin, November 28, 2010

Loving God, on this first Sunday of advent we are filled with anticipation.

We’ve started thinking about all that will make this season special… the friends and family, the food, the gifts. And we become caught up in the busy-ness, the plans, the expectations. Slow us down, God, hush the call of Christmas consumerism that we might find a quiet place to listen and wait.

God of Advent, remind us that for many this season will be difficult… those who are sick or alone, those who struggle with debts or who feel poverty or loss most keenly when all the world seems to be preparing to celebrate. Be close to them God, and help us reach out to one another … that we might learn what it means to truly love our neighbours as ourselves.

We remember the people in Haiti who continue to face unimaginable conditions, the spread of disease, fears of violence and growing hopelessness. Strengthen them God, and those who are trying to help them rebuild their lives and their country. Be present today as Haitians vote for a new president. In the days to come we pray you will guide that leader in ways that bring stability, opportunity, and an end to suffering.

As we mark World AIDS Day this week, we are grateful for signs of hope… a stabilizing epidemic, new scientific successes in preventing infections. Yet we know 2.6-million people were newly infected last year… and that for every one who received treatment, two more went without. Healing God, guide the scientists and policy makers so that safe, effective treatments may be equally provided for all who need them.

God, we also hold up the people and leaders in the Korean Peninsula, as new tensions and threats raise the spectre of war and all of the human suffering that encompasses. We long for you to fulfill your vision, that swords shall be beaten into ploughshares, and people shall no more learn war.

God of light, the days grow shorter and our world is filled with the cries of the hopeless and the helpless. Help us see that this is also the time that we begin the journey to light, rebirth, and the newness of life reflected in the Christmas story. A story full of hope and wonder.

God of hopefulness, in a world of struggles, help us to keep alive your vision of peace and wholeness.

In your name we pray,

AMEN




  Graphic by Elaine Frampton
   
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