Arise and Shine! (Isaiah 60:1-5 and Matthew 3:13-17)

We know that you are with us always, Lord,
but this season reminds us that you have chosen to live with us,
to share our human experience.
We celebrate that you have come to be with us, Lord.
The darkness had covered the earth, but now we
shine with the light of your love.
Help us to carry that light forward into the world.

We know that sometimes we focus on the darker side of life.
Remind us, Lord, to see the light and sunshine in our world.
Help us to see the abundance around us.
Lift up our hearts in joy and thanksgiving
for the gifts that you have given us.
Help us to focus on the positive and not the negative.
Help us to carry the light of your truth into the world.

As we focus on your love, we are reminded of our baptism.
Water, life-giving and life-sustaining, is a symbol of your love
and acceptance.
Help us to give that gift to others.
Help us to share the gift of your love to others we encounter.
As we have been cleansed and forgiven,
help us to see others with acceptance and forgiveness.
As members of the body of Christ, we support one another.
We lift up the names of those among us who need assistance, naming ___.
We also celebrate with one another in our times of joy.
We lift up our joys and celebrations naming ___.

We are your children, Lord.
We arise and shine in the light and glory of our Lord.
Be with us as we go through our daily lives and
be with us as we use the words you taught us,
“Our Father…”

The Remembrance of Christmas Past (Isaiah 11:1-10 and Matthew 3:1-12)

Gracious God, we know that our past influences our present and our future.
The past has shaped us, taught us how to view the world around us,
and created internal truths that are not easily challenged.
Open our eyes, Lord, to your truth, to your teachings.
Remind us that while we see, our eyes may not
see clearly and that truth may be hidden
by carefully placed shadows.
Remind us that our ears can be lied to by twisted words of half-truths
and by appeals to our unknown biases.
Ring out your truth, Lord, and open our eyes to see the entire picture.
Ring out your truth, Lord, and help us to hear the call of righteousness.

When we look back on our lives, Lord, we can see where we made mistakes.
We can see where our choices hurt other people and even ourselves.
Our mistakes can weigh us down, keeping us from trusting others,
building walls between others because we don’t know how to apologize, or
filling us with fear of making new mistakes.
We can hold onto resentments and cling to our anger
until we no longer remember exactly what the issue was.
Ring out your love, Lord, and help us put down our heavy burdens.
Ring out your love, Lord, and help us to find reconciliation with one another.

In this Advent season, we remember the past and prepare again for your coming.
As we look at those around us who will be joining us at your table,
we give thanks for those who have influenced us and made us
who we are today.
We lift up those among us, here and in our daily lives, who need support.
We name ___.
We celebrate and take encouragement from the joys of life,
thanking you for the gift of laughter and fellowship.
Ring out your truth, Lord, and open our eyes to the joys and concerns of our community.
Ring out your truth, Lord, and help us to embrace all of our neighbors
building a sense of your community throughout our world.

As your people, we have followed the voice crying out in the wilderness,
to prepare a way for your truth, to follow your teachings and to share your love with others.
As your people, we use the words taught to us so many years ago,
“Our Father…”