Loving God, in this third week of Advent, we praise and bless your name. Together with the prophet Zephaniah, we sing aloud, we shout your praise, we rejoice and exult with all of our hearts to praise your name.
Loving God, we thank you that you are our strength and our might, that you are the source of our salvation, as the prophet Isaiah wrote.
We thank you for your loving kindness and for your mercifulness.
We confess to you Gracious One, that for many of us this Advent season has been difficult, filled with anxiety and worry as well as grief and sorrow.
We long for the appearance of the Christ Child. We long for your loving presence. We confess to you now our longings.
We thank you Merciful One, for your listening, loving presence. We thank you for your continual forgiveness.
We bring before you our requests, our concerns for others around us:
During the Advent and Christmas season we read the biblical story of Elizabeth and Mary, of Mary and Joseph, of the shepherds and the wise men.
We also read of the turmoil surrounding these people‑‑ foreign government occupation, mass relocation on account of the census, genocide of infant boys.
We are reminded that turmoil continues today throughout the Middle East. We are tempted to stop praying for peace because of the centuries‑old conflict, because of our weariness of praying for the area, because of our own lack of hope.
God of Peace and God of Justice‑‑again we pray for peace in the Middle East. We pray for an end to the fighting, the deaths, the homelessness of a people. Again God, we ask you to move on behalf of our requests‑‑we pray for your justice and we pray for your peace.
We pray for our country and for the conflicts we have here, particularly the racial divides that plague our nation. God of Peace and God of Justice‑‑we ask you to heal the racism in this country. We ask you to heal the racism in our communities. We ask you to heal the racism in our Church.
Compassionate God, we thank you for listening to our requests and moving in this world on behalf of our prayers.
We thank you that you are in our midst, that you rejoice over us with gladness, that you will renew us in your love, and you will exult over us with loud singing.
We praise and bless your holy name. Amen.
(Photo by Kevin Driedger. Advent quilt by June Mears Driedger)