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….”

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…”

We Ask for Your Wisdom (Proverbs 8: 1-5, 12-14, 22-24, 27, 30,32-35)

Creator God, you have created us in your image,
and set before us your teachings
and yet, we see the world differently, with many interpretations.
We ask for your wisdom.
We ask that you open our eyes and give us clarity.

Our political leaders seek to control us with fear or partial truths.
The talking heads on our TV news channels spin their version of the truth
in any way that fits their purposes.
How can we decipher what is true and what is false?
We ask for your wisdom.
We ask that you open our eyes and give us clarity.

The rules for how our world operates have changed beneath our feet.
It is not always good enough to work hard and to do the right thing.
We see jobs lost,
we see unfair economic practices,
we see unfair criminal justice practices,
we see unfair immigration policies and practices.
But among ourselves, the definition of fair and unfair is in conflict.
We ask for your wisdom.
We ask that you open our eyes and give us clarity.

Help us to see what is true.
Help us to understand your teachings and how they apply in today’s world.
Remind us that we are to carry out your plan in this world.
We are your voice.
We are your people, who fulfill your plan here on earth.
We ask for your wisdom..
We ask that you open our eyes and give us clarity.

You created us in your image.
You gave us your only Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We know that you are with us always.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your extra strength.
In their time of trial, help them feel your love surrounding them.
Help them feel your healing touch as it envelopes them and provides support.

You sent your son to teach us your truth and your plans for us here on earth.
Your son taught us the words of wisdom we speak today.
“Our Father…”

Changing Rules (Isaiah 50:4-9a)

The world we live in today is not the world we used to know.
The rules have changed, but we are not sure when or how they changed.
We don’t even know who changed the rules,
but the world is different now.

The institutions we used to trust have failed us.
Our leaders in the government, in business, and in the church have failed us.
The plans we made for our lives have been thrown into turmoil
and the world we see on the news and social media is not the world we used to know.

Jesus entered the eastern gates of Jerusalem in triumph
on the back of a borrowed donkey.
Pontius Pilate entered the western gates of Jerusalem
in triumph at the head of the Roman army.
The world they lived in was not the world they used to know.
Their plans were going to be thrown into turmoil.

Lord, you have taught us the truth.
You have given us the words to share,
the words to help calm the turmoil around us.
Words of love to answer the words of hate that fill our ears on a daily basis.
Words of justice to answer the words of oppression
that hold some in poverty and without a voice.
Words of healing to soothe the pain of hurt and loss.
Words of forgiveness to heal the wounds caused by jealousy and fear.

You open our ears and our hearts.
You sustain us when we grow weary.
You awaken us every morning with the call to listen to your teachings,
to be your followers.
You give us the strength to stand up to our convictions,
to uphold your teachings.
You sent your Son to us to reinforce your teachings.

The rules of our world have shifted underneath our feet.
But as your children, we know though that you are always with us.
We ask that you give your strength and healing to ___.
As your community of believers, we stand together.
We stand up together as a united family, brothers and sisters in Christ.
And we use the words that your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”