The Life of Christmas Yet-to-Come (Isaiah 7:11-16 and Matthew 1:18-25)

Our world can often be the busiest and most stressful
in a season that should be full of joy and anticipation.
Remind us, Lord, that we need to take time to listen.
Remind us, to take time to be quiet, and to be still.
Open our hearts and eyes to your presence in our lives.

Ring Out Your Truth
Ring out our truth
Ring out your love
Reverberate in our lives
Come, Lord, come!

We can be conflicted people, God.
On one hand, we can focus too much on today’s busyness,
that we don’t plan for the future.
On the other hand, we can fixate on the future in fear
imagining all the terrible things that could happen
until we are frozen in fear.
Remind us, Lord, that you are always with us.
Fill us with your peace and remove our fears.
As you are always with us, we share that love and support
with those in our community who are hurting.
We ask that you be with those we name today, ___
and with those we have not named.

Ring Out Your Truth
Ring out our truth
Ring out your love
Reverberate in our lives
Come, Lord, come!

We know that the future is what we make it.
We move forward in confidence that you are with us
and we take your teachings with us as we move forward.
Remind us to live a life full of joy that we have you in our lives.
Remind us, as we prepare for a new year, to live a life of purpose.
Remind us, that we can be a miracle in someone else’s life.

Ring Out Your Truth
Ring out our truth
Ring out your love
Reverberate in our lives
Come, Lord, come!

In this season of preparation and anticipation,
remind us to take time to listen for you, Lord.
Remind us to take a few minutes to sit quietly and
to open ourselves to your teachings, to your peace.
Open our hearts to your presence and your grace.
And as we open ourselves to you, we lift up our words to you
in prayer, using the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father….”

Turning Our World Upside Down (Luke 1:26-45, 56)

Father, your love for us knows no bounds.
Your grace is freely given to us,
no matter our failings.
In your love, you sent the angel Gabriel
to an ordinary teenager living in the middle of nowhere.
Do not be afraid, said Gabriel.
Fear not, but I am going to turn your world upside down.

Father, today we are feeling like our world has been turned upside down.
In this Advent time of joy and preparation,
we are faced instead with events
that make us fearful,
that divide us, and
that cause us to question our very core.
We are a fearful people, at times.
We’ve heard your message: Fear not, for I am with you.
And yet, in the dark of the night, when all is quiet,
those worries and fears can echo loudly in our ears.
When we read the news and watch the pain and devastation in real-time,
we can allow our fear to overwhelm our sense of balance.
We let fear harden our hearts against those who need our help the very most.

Father, your love for us knows no bounds.
We are your children, each of us precious in your sight.
Each of us is deeply loved and uniquely cherished.
And in your love, you sent us your Son.
In this season of Advent, we wait and prepare,
for the gift that brings us closer to you.
As we wait, walk with us on our journey,
remind us that you are with us when our thoughts turn to worry,
unclench our hands when our fears make us anxious and angry,
open our eyes to the power of your love in our lives,
allow us to hear each other without judgment,
show us your truths,
and teach us to work together for the good of all your people.
As Mary said, Let it be with me according to your word,
open our hearts so that we also say, Let it be with me.

Father, your love for us knows no bounds.
In this season of Advent, help us to replace our fear with the joy of your love.
Let it be with us according to your word.
In this season of Advent, help us to show that love to others.
Let it be with us according to your word.
In this season of Advent, help us to teach your word to others.
Let it be with us according to your word.
In this season of Advent, help us to lift up those around us.
Let it be with us according to your word.

And, in this season of Advent, as we wait for the renewing celebration of the gift of your son,
we use the words he taught us,
“Our Father…”

You may have the congregation respond using the words in bold text.