Advent Prayer #3: A Song of Joy

This third week of Advent, we rise above the surface and inhale the sweetness of joy. As we near the winter solstice and the nights grow longer and the days grow colder, joy can be hard to see. This year, as in all years, the fear for our futures, the ever-present suffering of the people of the world, and sadness for what could have been and what ought to be threaten to obscure the gifts God gives even in the midst of life.

I have reflected on Song of Songs chapters 5 and 6 and the presence of joy in the imperfect pursuit of a lover, of wisdom, of Christ, of the object of our desire. May we be reminded not to miss either the good or the bad in front of us but to see both in their own place and time and not to let either blind us to the other. May we remember always that in even in the dead of night, the stars glitter, the moon reflects the light of a hidden sun, and the dawn will come at last.

Join me in seeking joy, finding strength in joy, sharing joy, and being joy for those around us who need it most as we remember the joy of a new baby born to a young mother in uniquely confounding circumstances and we look forward to the unending joy of a brother, a lover, a friend returning to us never to leave again.

advent-3

Lord, Jesus, may we enter your garden and gather good things with you. May we celebrate and rejoice at your provision and your presence.

Though we sleep and do not see what happens all around us, wake us up with the sound of your voice calling in the night. Awaken us to see.

Who is this who shines like the dawn—as beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, awe-inspiring as an army with banners? Come back, come back, that we may look at you!

We have forgotten our joy and left ourselves naked and unprepared. We have sought our own well-being but cannot respond to love, fearing to get ourselves dirty.

May you stir in us the love you gave us. May we rise to meet you and open ourselves to love. May we seek the joy of your love as far as it takes, even though we risk finding violence and opposition.

Though seeking you among those who reject your ways is perilous, help us not to lose hope, to lose heart, to find anxiety where we should find peace. Shine through our darkness, Lord, to stir our hearts and strength for you.

Who is this who shines like the dawn—as beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, awe-inspiring as an army with banners? Come back, come back, that we may look at you!

When we look at you we see the brilliance of pure gold, the beauty of strength and power. We see in you health and life, towering like cedars and the sweet like a lover.

Help us to find the joy you give, to experience the joy you have, to know the joy you are. May we seek you, our joy, together forever.

You plant your garden with spices and flowers, music for the tongue and the eyes. May we find joy in your works.  You claim us for your own and give yourself to us and to all. May we find joy in you.

Your beauty, Lord, is beyond enduring. Sustain us with yourself and save us from our blindness and our sight. Help us to see you in the world you created, and shine through the veil of our daily lives.

Who is this who shines like the dawn—as beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, awe-inspiring as an army with banners? Come back, come back, that we may look at you!

Come, Lord Jesus.

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