advent - peace

Last week I posted a few tidbits about how to keep Advent, particularly week one. Over this week, God has woven the theme of hope into so many areas of my life. Every single prayer I have prayed over someone has involved praying for hope. In particular, please join me in praying for those who are struggling to believe, struggling with their faith. Pray that they have hope that there will be a light at the end of this tunnel, and that Jesus is truly worth following. 

As I continue to observe Advent, I am eager to see what God will do. This week is the end of classes and first week of finals, so the theme of peace is clearly already appropriate! But I also believe and ask that God will do far more abundantly than all I can ask or imagine. I hope you'll join in my keeping Advent this year!

What is Advent?
Advent is the holy season that precedes Christmas. From the Latin adventus, meaning “arrival,” it is a time of hope and expectancy, when Christians prepare their hearts for the coming of Christ. Each of the four weeks of advent encompass a theme; this week’s theme is Peace, Repentance, and Justice. Use these prayers and Scriptures to prepare your heart for the celebration of Christ’s birth.

Advent Collect (Book of Common Prayer)
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Select Prayer (Revised Common Lectionary)
Laboring God, with axe and winnowing fork you clear a holy space where hurt and destruction have no place, and a little child holds sway. Clear our lives of hatred and despair, sow seeds of joy and peace, that shoots of hope may spring forth and we may live in harmony with one another. Amen.

Hebrew Bible          Psalm                  New Testament                  Gospel
Isaiah 11:1-10         Psalm 72              Romans 15:4-13             Matthew 3:1-12

This week's theme is peace, repentance, and justice. A song that has come to mean so much to me speaks beautifully to this topic, particularly of peace and justice. I invite you to read it, listen to it, and make it a regular part of your week. 

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day 
I heard the bells on Christmas dayTheir old familiar carols play,And wild and sweet the words repeatOf peace on earth, good will to men. 
I thought how, as the day had come,The belfries of all ChristendomHad rolled along th'unbroken songOf peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:"There is no peace on earth," I said,"For hate is strong and mocks the songOf peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,With peace on earth, good will to men."

Till, ringing, singing, on its way,The world revolved from night to day,A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,Of peace on earth, good will to men!


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