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Photo by Susan Barrett Price on Flickr Creative Commons

God of all the seasons of life,
here we are in Advent –
a season of expectant watching and waiting –
and we are aware of the grand struggles
playing out on this earth …
… struggles for human dignity
… for freedom from oppression
… for sustainable living
… for responsible stewardship of this precious earth.

Holy and mighty God,
you speak of a day when we will know
that Christ is near, even at the door.
You warn us to keep awake
and not succumb to the sleepiness
of casual accumulation and comfort.
There is so much need around us
our eyes and hearts cannot contain it.
So many of the world’s children
whom you love
through no fault of their own.

In this holy season,
while the world dances transfixed
before the dazzling lights of commerce,
we are invited
to sit in wonder beneath a brilliant nighttime star,
to seek the true light that shines in the darkness,
to follow where the child of Bethlehem leads,
to listen anew to the Word made flesh.

Draw us up short, Lord,
from any pretensions of piety we may have,
and surprise us again by the miracle of hope,
that this child who is to be born
may remind us of all the world’s children
who carry within them your image
your life
your love
your light!

(c) 2011 Mark Lloyd Richardson