Let Us Wait As Children Wait – the Entire Series.

Aboriginal Christmas - unknown artist

Aboriginal Christmas – unknown artist

In case you missed some posts, here is the complete list of the contributions to the series Let Us Wait As Children Wait. Enjoy

Advent, Children, Justice, Wonder and Humility by Steve Wickham

Lessons From a Nomadic Childhood by Lynne Baab

Let Us Wait As Children Wait by Jon Stevens

Too Old And Decrepit To Bless – by Anne Townsend

Waiting on the Trail an Advent Reflection by Jill Aylard Young

Let Us Wait As Children Wait An Advent Reflection by Coe Hutchison

Everything Will Happen, Just Slow Down and Wait an Advent Reflection by Bonnie Harr

Always Winter and Never Christmas An Advent Reflection by Travis Mamone

Simple Faith – An Advent Reflection by Paula Mitchell

Shhhh…Here He Comes an Advent Reflection by Margaret Magi Trotman

Waiting When There is No Hope An Advent Reflection by Christine Sine

Wading Through Hot Chocolate and Cloudy Skies an Advent Reflection by Kim Balke

An Advent Prayer for those Grieving in Connecticut by Bonnie Harr

Why Being a Child is Admitting We Don’t Know it All An Advent Reflection by james Prescott.

Waiting with Ants an Advent Reflection by Jim Fisher

The Slaughter of the Innocents – Advent Reflections on the Massacre in CT

I Can Hardly Wait for Christmas But I’ll Try – An Advent Reflection by John Leech

This Will Be A Sign For You An Advent Reflection by David Perry

Celebrating Advent with A Birth and A Death by Edith Yoder.

Gifts of Light and Love a Christmas Poem by Heather Jephcott

Advent is Over – What Have You Learnt?

And the prayers that have been posted during the Advent season

A Prayer for the First Sunday of Advent by John Birch

A Celtic Advent – The Creative Breath by John Birch

A Celtic Liturgy for Week 2 of Advent by John Birch

A Celtic Advent Liturgy for the Third Week of Advent by John Birch

A Celtic Liturgy for the Fourth Week of Advent by John Birch

Prayers for Advent from Light For the Journey

Prayers for the Journey – Advent prayers for the week

Christmas Prayers for 2012


Gifts of Light and Love a Christmas Poem by Heather Jephcott

Delight filled faces lighting up

Today’s post is the last the Advent series Let Us Wait As Children Wait. This beautiful poem was written by Heather Jephcott. Heather comes from Australia but now lives in Surabaya Indonesia. She enjoys writing, especially poetry, playing the piano, friends and family, black line drawings, gardening, photography, reading. She also loves interacting with people..health or the lack of it has got in the way at times but she’s getting better after 17 years with CFS. She never wants to be too busy for people.

It’s about giving

precious gifts

of thoughtfulness


packaged with laughter

joy accompanying smiles


Delight filled faces

light up


gifts of love

an air of happiness surrounds

pleased with the giving


A grand party of giving

with everyone included

caring for needs

attentive to likes

unselfish consideration


Surprise adds an extra specialness

child-like wonder comes to visit

discovering again

love, joy, hope and peace

Christmas Prayers for 2012

I know it is not Christmas yet but so many of us are already anticipating the day and looking for resources to celebrate with that I thought I would share these prayers with you. If you use one of them for your Christmas celebrations I would love to know about it.

Christmas prayer.001Rejoice Rejoice, Christ our Saviour is come.001


Celebrating Advent with A Birth and A Death by Edith Yoder.

Today’s Advent reflection was written by Edith Yoder, Executive Director of Bridge of Hope an organization that creates a three way partnership between single mothers, social workers and church based mentoring groups. Edith’s spiritual journey includes a deep sense of call to engage and equip churches in ending homelessness for single mothers and children. She authored The Mentor’s Resource Guide, a training tool which helps equip caring Christians for an effective ministry of friendship with homeless families.

Antependium_Straßburg_ via wikimedia

Antependium_Straßburg_ via wikimedia

“Advent is not a time to declare, but to listen, to listen to whatever God may want to tell us through the singing of the stars, the quickening of a baby, the gallantry of a dying man.”  

– Madeleine L’Engle

The Christmas season began this year for me with a funeral and a birth.  At the beginning of Advent we celebrated the birth of our third grandchild.  Makenzie was welcomed into the world by loving parents, her big brother, and a joyful extended family.  My stepson and his family live in Corpus Christi, Texas and so my waiting this Advent season means waiting to hold this precious new baby for whom I have already made lots of room in my heart!

But last week was also the funeral of long-time Bridge of Hope ambassador and co-founder of Bridge of Hope Harrisburg Area, Joyce Eby .  Joyce was a social worker who lived a life of service to Christ and who cared deeply about homeless single mothers and children.  Joyce also lived a courageous life, giving of herself even as she faced cancer.

These two events – a birth and a death – have put this Christmas season in a new light for me. This season, as I embrace Makenzie’s new life and say goodbye to Joyce, I recognize anew the implications of “making room” for others.  Making room for others means opening ourselves up to sharing in both the joys and the sorrows of life.

Advent is about making room, both in the physical sense – Mary, Joseph and the newborn Jesus needed a physical place to stay – and also in a spiritual sense – making room in my heart for this Christ child who is the Savior of the world.   My life is enriched when I truly make room for each person and family I encounter, whether housed or homeless, single mother or two-parent family.

I am grateful for the ministry of Bridge of Hope which values each life, each homeless mother and child that we walk with and serve.  While once-homeless single mothers in Bridge of Hope often continue to struggle to pay bills and provide a safe physical home for their children, they can rest assured that their mentors are walking with them and have, indeed, made room in their hearts for them.

May this Advent be a time when you catch a glimpse of the possibilities that abound when we allow God to make room in our hearts for our own family – as well as homeless families.

This Will Be A Sign For You An Advent Reflection by David Perry

Today’s reflection is written by David Perry. Dave is a Methodist Minister who blogs at www.visualtheology.blogspot.com. A passionate photographer, he is keen to use visual imagery as a way of bringing the faith alive. Dave is currently Superintendent of the Hull (West) Circuit in East Yorkshire in the U.K. I highly recommend checking out some of his other photography and lectionary reflections.

cracked mirror - David Perry

In the centre of town, fenced off in a demolition site awaiting redevelopment, the sole surviving interior wall of a once private washroom is now open to the elements. Set above the rotting surround for a pair of long removed hand washbasins, two mirrors reflect the immediate surroundings. Their surfaces bear the marks of violence,  exhibiting the tell-tale signs of impact damage. This could have occurred as the building was being demolished, or it might bear testimony to rocks, bricks or stones thrown by vandals at such an easy and tempting target afterwards.
Like razor sharp spider webs, spun within the structure of the glass, the crazed and splintered patterns look like their sole purpose is to capture meaning and prevent it escaping from the mirrored surface intact.  Such violence has achieved its aim: the picture is disjointed, broken, distorted, difficult to interpret or see as a unified and intelligible whole. The shattered mirrors convey the truth of the world’s brokenness and suffering. Everywhere violence inhibits us from seeing the picture of a world perfectly reflecting the love of God. Violence breaks up the image, smashes it into sharp-edged pieces which hurt and harm. Violence splinters meaning and traps our perception into falsely chaotic and hope-denying mindsets.

Across the world the mirror of everyday experience is shattered daily by violence. The brutality of dictators and the mindless, murderous impulses of dissaffected young men take the lives of the innocent, especially women and children.  Domestic violence and abuse, hidden away in every community, wreaks havoc in a similarly destructive way with clenched fists and brutalising words. All around us mirrors of expectation and promise are shattered and smashed; cruelly, deliberately and vengefully.

Violence would smash and destroy all possibility of us seeing God’s reflection in the image of contemporary life. The Bible knows differently. If the perfect picture of God’s loving Kingdom is broken into myriads of apparently faith denying shards, our Christian faith tells us that it is within the splintered, broken picture that we should expect to discover God alongside us, amongst us, reaching out to us. God never abandons us. Within the shattered heart of life God remains lovingly faithful and true: the ancient promises hold good and God is always and utterly merciful. Mary knew this and claimed it for herself and her son: “in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made” (Luke 1:54-55) The life of Jesus was God’s incarnate gift of self within the very splinters and shards of human experience.

The sign of this truth is that God is with us and we should expect to encounter that reality for ourselves: “to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger ” (Luke 2:11-12) Looking into the mirrors we can see a face, a woman’s face, reflected in one of the broken pieces of glass. She is looking at us. And we realise that she must be standing close by. In the second photograph this splintered truth is picked out in colour. Mary stood in the brokenness of her time and place and Jesus was born right there where the splintered patterns of poverty, death and violence were at their worst.

We see Mary on God’s side of the image. She allows us to perceive a different reality all around us, one that violence cannot deny or obliterate. The Magnificat puts this picture into words. In his birth Jesus is the very disclosure of this divine presence and purpose which confronts and confounds violence. Today, as at that first Christmas, God looks out at us with love from within all the razor sharp shards of horror that would deny God’s very existence. This will be a sign for you; a sign to turn around and see the God picture which challenges the distorted brokenness of our human behaviour and perception.

cracked mirror with shard showing womans face - Dave Perry

cracked mirror with shard showing womans face – Dave Perry

A Celtic Liturgy for the Fourth Week of Advent by John Birch

Christmas Cross (c) Andy Wade

Christmas Cross (c) Andy Wade

This is the last of the Celtic liturgies for Advent posted by John Birch at faithandworship.com I really appreciate the resources that John posts and heartily recommend them to you.

The theme for this week is birth and rebirth

Responses are in bold print

Symbol: A candle and in front of this a rose flower (or similar) The rose, usually shown in stylized form, has been a common Christian symbol since the 1200s. It may be used to represent the Messianic promise, the nativity of Christ, the virgin Mary (her rose is white for purity), or martyrdom (a red rose). It is used often in Gothic architecture. 

The candle is lit

‘While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.’

(Luke 2:6,7)

Beneath the surface of your story
is an inescapable fact
You entered this world
as vulnerable as any one of us
in order to nail that vulnerability to the cross.
Our fears, our insecurities and our sins
all that can separate us from God
exchanged by your Grace for Love.
We cannot comprehend the reasoning
only marvel that Salvation comes to us
through a baby born in a stable,
who reaches out to a world in need.

(A space for music to be played or sung – a Taizé chant would be most appropriate)

‘Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.’

(John 3:5-8)

(A moment of silence – During the silence, you may like to read and reflect on the words that have been read, gaze at the lantern – or simply enjoy the peace and calm )

If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness;
Therefore you are feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in his word I put my hope

There is a transformation that takes place
within the warmth of your embrace
That certain knowledge that you are
refuge, shelter, fortress and stronghold
against which no army can succeed
That you are Brother, Sister, Mother, Father
the love that knows no bounds
That you are God
And I am lost outside of your arms

Create in me a pure heart, O God
And renew a faithful spirit within me
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
And an willing spirit to sustain me
O Lord, open our lips
And our mouths will forever declare your praise

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come again and with us ever dwell

(Scripture reading – possibly the Gospel reading for the day)

(A space for a hymn or song to be sung/said)

(Intercessions – A circle prayer

Circle us, Lord
Circle us with the light of your presence, bright within this dark word
Enable us to be overcomers of fear and temptation
Enable us to be victors over sin and despair
Enable us to become that which you would desire
(Silent prayer)
Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation
Circle us with the light of your presence

Circle us, Lord
Circle our family within the shelter of your outstretched arms
Protect them in each moment of their daily lives
Protect them in the decisions that they face
Protect their homes and relationships
(Silent prayer)
Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation
Circle our families with the light of your presence

Circle us, Lord
Circle this nation with Advent love and hope
Create a desire to listen to the Advent message
Create a willingness to understand and respond
Create a need to reach out to the Christ Child
(Silent prayer)
Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation
Circle our nation with the light of your presence

Circle us, Lord
Circle this world with the joy of your Salvation
Where there is sickness and disease bring healing
Where there is hunger and despair bring hope
Where there is torture and oppression bring release
(Silent prayer)
Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation
Circle this world with the light of your presence

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s hand to guard me.

Afar or anear,
Alone or in a multitude.

Christ shield me today
Against wounding;

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in me.

I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of Creation

(attr. St. Patrick)

Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

I Can Hardly Wait for Christmas But I’ll Try – An Advent Reflection by John Leech

Today’s Advent reflection is written by John Leech. John is the rector at St Albans Episcopal Church in Edmonds Washington and a good friend.


I can hardly wait for it, for all it means to me: festivities, family, friends, now and remembered, here and far away. I want Christmas morning to arrive. But – it is not here yet; I am still waiting, waiting for more than Christmas presents can provide, more than wassail or caroling.
I am eager in anticipation for something greater than these – deliverance (and not just from holiday sales and canned Santa songs). Deliverance into the new kingdom Jesus comes to begin – the new order of the ages John told us was just around the corner.
I want to hear the story of our savior. The one of whom the prophets sang. The one “Messiah” is all about – wonderful, counselor, almighty God, prince of peace – though I know this is only Part One and we will not get to the end of the story until after Holy Week, after Easter, after Ascension, after Pentecost…
I can hardly wait for the celebrations, the holly, the ivy, (the mistletoe), the wassail, the carols, and the candlelight. I want to walk up the path to church between luminaria and into the hall for song and into the sanctuary for communion and into the stillness of night, stars, hidden or shining, waiting above, signaling…
I would like to see the world released from darkness. I would like to see the dawning of the light. And so I can hardly wait to see the beginning of his promised peace.
Still I eagerly await the coming of the King born at Christmas – because with joyful anticipation I prepare my heart. There is certainly room, if I let him in. And so—
I can hardly wait for Christmas … but I’ll try.

Waiting with Ants an Advent Reflection by Jim Fisher

What's with the Butterfly?Profile Pic

Today’s Advent reflection is written by Jim Fisher. Jim Fish enjoys reading and listening to stories. Even his profile pictures are intended to inspire conversation and invite you inside a story. (So what is the story behind that butterfly on your finger, Jim?) On his best days, he paints word-pictures for his website which you can find by searching for “Holy Hugs” via Google. He lives in Minnesota with his wife, Mary, his bicycle, Renée, and his 15-year-old narcissistic moth orchid, Luna, who always starts to bloom during Advent and continues her showy display until Easter.


Waiting Standing

A boy, not much older than a toddler, is sitting cross-legged on the sidewalk in front of his house, staring at a crack in the cement. As I approach him from the end of the block, I slow my pace so as not to interrupt whatever has captivated his attention.

With a light smile on my face, I stand amazed at the intensity of his focus. His head, resting on his hands, has not moved for several minutes. Then as he turns to pick up a small stick, he catches sight of me watching him. Without showing any signs of being startled, he simply greets me with a cheerful, “Hi!”

“Hi, Jimmy. What are you studying so intently?”

“Ants,” he replies excitedly.

“What are the ants doing?”

Jimmy turns, points his little stick to the crack in the sidewalk and explains, “Well, they go down into the ground through this hole and bring up sand. Then they carry it up over this pile and drop it and then go back down into the ground to get some more.”

As I sit on the pavement next to him, I watch as ants excavate their underground tunnels and build the perfectly round dome of sand that we all have seen in the cracks of sidewalks. As an adult, I certainly would never take the time, even on a perfect day like this, to sit and study … and wait … with the intensity and awe of this little boy. I begin to wonder why.

Jimmy returns to his study and lightly disturbs the dome with his stick to explore how the ants scurry to mend the scar. Amazed at his inquisitive spirit, I ask, “Do you study ants often?”

Waiting on Steps

“Just when Mommy is gone.”

Startled, I probe deeper, “You mean your mom is not in the house?”

“No. She went shopping. She told me to wait here until she got back.” Jimmy’s forehead wrinkles. He is starting to wonder why I am asking these questions.

I hesitantly ask one more, “How long has she been gone?”

“Since after breakfast, I guess.”

It was almost noon.

Immersed in my adult worldview, I am having a hard time with this. I live in a time of child abductions, child abandonment, and abuse. I live in a time of constant stimulus, hand-held phones, electronic games, and social media. I live in a time of attention deficit and instant gratification. I live in a time where no responsible parent would leave their three-year-old child outside to wait for her return hours later.

I also live in a time when we have lost our desire, and maybe even our ability, to wait.

I am finding this especially difficult because I am peering back more than half a century to a very different time. I am also peering back to a very different person … for that little boy is me.

I have lost that childlike sense of awe and wonder-filled anticipation of what comes next. Well maybe not lost, but certainly scribbled over with ink drawn from the well of societal pressures, expectations, and norms. I tend to wait with twiddling thumbs, not with the active, anticipatory patience of a child.

The little boy knows that his mother will return. He has no reason to question it. And as he catches sight of her pulling the wagon full of groceries at the end of the block, he jumps on his tricycle pedaling as fast as his little legs will allow, scurrying to greet her. And as they return to the house once again united and engaged with each other, I wonder. I wonder if I will have that same childlike enthusiasm and energy to greet Jesus when He returns to us here on Earth. I wonder if I really understand what the Apantēsis is going to be like. I wonder if I really understand Advent.

I wonder, too, how ants with brains smaller than the grains of sand they are carrying can have such a perfected sense of symmetry and order. How can they instinctively know how to work together for the common good when we humans with much larger brains have yet to figure that out? Will I and the rest of humanity, our Creator’s crown jewel, ever learn how to care for and love our planet and each other as we were intended? How shall I wait for that? Like an adult waiting for a bus? Or like a child.

Lord, teach me to wait with the heart and energy of that little boy within me. Lead me away from a purposeless passing of the time and toward purpose-filled anticipation. Guide me in Your purposes and keep me moving on a path mending the scars on our planet and our people so that we become worthy of Your return. Amen.

Waiting on Trike


Prayers for Advent from Light For the Journey

Last week’s Light for the Journey prayers were refocused by the tragic happenings in Newtown CT as represented by this beautiful prayer by Bonnie Harr. However there were still some beautiful Advent prayers posted during the week.

In this season of waiting breathe in life

God in this season ,
Suspended between hope and fulfillment,
Let we never forget what you have done.
May we be overwhelmed by your mercy,
Which flows in wave after wave.
May we be honest about the darkness within us,

And perceptive of the light around us.
May we make straight the path for the Lord,
That together we may see God’s glory revealed.
(Adapted by Christine Sine rom weekly Advent reflections by Mark Pierson)


May we never be afraid
to come to you in prayer,
bring those things
that trouble us
or cause us pain
and lay them at your feet.
May we never be afraid
to come to you in faith,
kneel and reach out
to touch your hem

or grasp your hand
knowing our needs are met.
May we never be afraid
to come to you as Lord,
acknowledge you
as Son of God
and in your strength
tell others of your Grace.


Faith is the gift
God in this season of waiting,
May we still our hearts,
slow our steps,
and take time to listen.
May we lay aside our distractions,
and open our eyes to see the path,
that leads to the place
where Christ is born afresh in our hearts.
(Christine Sine)
God we awaited the unexpected,
The wonder of Christ’s birth,
The glory of your breaking in upon us,
From darkness to light,
From fear to hope,
From sorrow to joy,
We watch for the glimpses,
Your new world coming, breaking upon us now.
(Christine Sine)
This day is your gift,
freely offered,
accepted in gratitude,
proclaimed to the world.
This day is your gift,
Thank you, Lord.


Thank you for scripture fullfilled
In our moments of doubt
and unbelief,
when worldly pressure
or circumstance
become the distance
between us,
draw near, we pray.
Remind us of the grace
that we first knew,
your healing touch,

the Father’s love,
the Spirit’s breath.
Grant us courage,
a faith that endures
and the sure knowledge
that you are with us
in our journeying,
now and always.


To you O Lord we bring our lives,
troubled, broken or at ease,
a sacrificial offering
for you to use.
Take away our selfishness
and teach us to love as you loved.
Take away our sense of pride
and show us the meaning of humility.
Take away our blindness
and show us the world through your eyes.

Take away our greed
and teach us how to give as you gave.
Show us your ways
Teach us your paths
That we might walk with you more closely
Our hand in your hand
Our feet in your footsteps
From the baby in a stable
To eternity, Amen


Even When Our World is Broken by Bonnie Harr

Even When Our World is Broken by Bonnie Harr

Why Being a Child is Admitting We Don’t Know it All An Advent Reflection by james Prescott.

Admitting you don't know everything

Today’s Advent reflection is written by JamesPrescott.co.uk James is a writer & creative from Sutton, near London in the UK. He blogs regularly at www.jamesprescott.co.uk where he explores how we find divine hope in the messy journey of life. He also guest posts on several different blogs. James loves to write, encourage people, read, tweet and watch movies. 


I’m guessing many of you have heard the phrase ‘children of God’. I also wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve heard about how we need to come to Jesus ‘like children’. It’s a topic casually discussed quite often.

But what does it mean?

First, it means innocence and vulnerability. Children are innocent. They are vulnerable. Completely dependent in many ways on their parents. They have no choice but to trust them.

But there is more to it than this.

When Jesus talks about us coming to Him as children, He is talking about our thought life too.

When I look back at my childhood now, I see how naive I was. I thought I had all the answers. I thought myself smart, clever. Many of us do when we’re young. In time, we all realise how little we knew. How foolish we were.

Many of us have this childish attitude toward our relationship with God.

We think we have all the answers. We think we’re keeping with all the rules. We try to control our view of God, in order to feel safe.

But God doesn’t want us to come to Him childishly. He wants us to come as children.

Coming to God as children isn’t just about innocence and vulnerability.

It’s about realising how little we know. Understanding no one can know God completely. Coming to terms with the fact there will always be a mysterious, unknown and uncontrollable dimension to our relationship with God.

And this is where our relationship with Him must begin.

First, accept God is mysterious, unknown and uncontrollable. Once we have done this, we have no option but to trust Him. To hold on to what we do know, without knowing it all.

This is true faith. This is coming to Jesus like a child.

A child-like faith comes to Jesus accepting the mystery, trusting what we do not fully know. And choosing to follow Him anyway. Choosing to listen, to learn and grow into who He made us to be.

Maybe this is what fearing God truly is. To accept the mystery, and to choose to follow God anyway. Once we accept our lack in comparison to God, we can become truly wise.

And true wisdom is to recognise we know nothing in comparison to God.

So as we go through Advent, let us surrender all we know. All we have experienced. Everything we think we understand about God.

Instead, let us begin again.

Let us come to Jesus as children.

Vulnerable. Innocent.

And aware our knowledge and experience is foolishness before God.

May we be ready and willing to learn from our creator.

Allowing God to shape us. To mould us into the people we were created to be.