advent candles

Prayers for the First Sunday of Advent

God of wonder, of light and shadow,

half-revealed, half-hidden One…

O radiant darkness,

we praise you and we bless you!

Your hands are stretched toward us in giving,

and from your heart flow rivers of grace.

Slow us down to notice

how the very air shimmers with it:

how lovingkindness invisibly reaches for us

from the center of this moment,

and the next, and the next,

as we walk the dog in the chill of the early morning,

or drink in the news with our morning coffee;

as we trundle our cart across the parking lot,

or work our way through the day’s homework,

or turn to face a sink full of dishes—

there you are even then:

all-present, all attention,

turned toward us with infinite welcome,

ready to pour into our cupped hands

your gift of yourself,

to draw us into your joy

now, today, in the center of this moment,

in sunlight and in shadow,

in bright faith and muffled dimness,

in airy joy and the weight of grief,

and in the chill of loneliness

where you seem most absent,

holy darkness of God,

hidden, wordless, beyond our grasp…

is it not then especially that you reach for us, holding us to your heart?

Help us to take into ourselves

the darkness along with the light.

Help us make room in ourselves

for mysteries of love beyond comprehension,

like the mystery that waits in a lowly village

at the outskirts of an empire,

in the darkness of a young girl’s womb—

waiting to be born to us anew.

Holy One, teach us to trust the darkness,

the dwelling place of your wisdom.

Give us stillness and patience

for all that is yet to be revealed.

We turn to you.

We reach out our hands to receive you—

praying to be born fresh in your image and likeness—

God-lights of mercy and blessing to a hurting world.

In silence now we lift that world to your care…

We lift up all who are sick, and those who care for them…

We pray for the weary… the grieving… for those who are afraid…

We pray for all who are behind bars…

all who wait for the light of a new day…

All these things, spoken and unspoken,

we trust to you,

and to the grace and power of Jesus Christ

alive in the world.