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

gentleness

packaged with laughter

joy accompanying smiles

 

Delight filled faces

light up

receiving

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

An Advent Prayer for those Grieving in Connecticut by Bonnie Harr

Prayer by Bonnie Harr

Prayer by Bonnie Harr

Bonnie Harr posted this prayer on the Light for the Journey Facebook page last night. As we all grieve for the families who have lost loved ones in Connecticut

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

spirals

This year I am featuring these beautiful Celtic liturgies by John Birch as my weekly Advent liturgies. The focus for this week is Obedience. Check out all John’s Celtic Advent liturgies here.

Responses are in bold print

Symbol: A candle and in front of it a stone (A rock is often used as a symbol for Christ. In the wilderness, Moses struck a rock and it poured forth water to refresh the people. A rock can also symbolize obedience to Christ. St. Peter, whose name means “rock,” is sometimes thus represented)

The candle is lit

‘You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end. ‘

Luke 1:31-33

There were safer places
more comfortable places
palaces and wealthy places
Yet you chose a daughter of the soil
Who would have otherwise
lived a good and honest life
grown and harvested crops
cooked and washed and cared for others
and been forgotten
to be your temporary home
to be exalted for all time

My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed

When does an ordinary life
Become extraordinary
An mundane day
Become revolutionary
A moment in time
Change history?
When God enters in
Forgives sin
Allows us to
Begin again
When we repeat
Those words of Mary
‘May it be to me
As you say’

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

‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.’
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered.
“May it be to me as you have said.”

Luke 1:35-38

(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 )

Into the daily cycle of our lives
When all seems well
With us and with the world
When our yoke is easy
And the burden light
You break in
And scatter our complacency

Into the daily cycle of our lives
When we are comfortable
And at our ease
When the fire is lit
But eyes are closed
You break in
And challenge our dependency

You break into
Our daily prayers
Humble hearts
Lay souls bare
You break in
You break in

You break in
When defences are down
With an Angel’s shout
Or the quietest sound
You break in
You break in

And we change
And all things change
When you break in

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

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.
Imagine throwing a pebble into the centre of a pond, and the circles of ripples that move out from the centre.)

We pray firstly for those closest to us, our immediate family and closest friends – for their health, needs, joys and fears.
(Silent prayer)
God of creation, God of Salvation
Hear the prayers of our hearts

We pray for our extended family and friends who we might not see each week – for their love and concern, for their wellbeing.
(Silent prayer)
God of creation, God of Salvation
Hear the prayers of our hearts

As the ripples reach out toward the land we pray for those who we only have contact with annually or less – for a blessing this Advent-time
(Silent prayer)
God of creation, God of Salvation
Hear the prayers of our hearts

And as the ripples reach their furthest point we pray for this world and its people – for the needs of this week and the future.
(Silent prayer)
God of creation, God of Salvation
Who speaks to us through thunder and whisper
Who loves us as if there were but one of us to love
Hear the prayers of our hearts

May God the Father bless us;
may Christ take care of us;
the Holy Ghost enlighten us all the days of our life.
The Lord be our defender and keeper of body and soul,
both now and for ever, to the ages of ages.

(Æthelwold c 908-984)

A Prayer for the First Sunday of Advent by John Birch

christmas_candles

The following prayer was posted by John Birch of faithandworship.com on the Light for the Journey Facebook page a couple of days ago.

The Advent story
of hope and mystery,
anticipation,
preparation,
a kingdom
of this world and the next,
and a king
appearing when we least expect.
Heaven touching earth,
the footsteps of the divine

walking dusty roads
as once they did in Eden,
and a people,
searching for a Saviour
and walking past
the stable.
Open eyes and hearts,
that this might be
an Advent of hope to the world.

(www.faithandworship.com)

A Prayer for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Olympic mountains

Olympic mountains at sunrise - promise and hope from God

My prayer for the fourth Sunday of Advent was inspired by my view of the Olympic mountains early this morning sun drenched, snow covered, rose tinted, silhouetted against a dark sky. I was overwhelmed by the promise and goodness of God I saw reflected in that view.  I had planned to post this later today but I was so impacted by the scene in front of me that I felt I had to post it immediately – so much for waiting quietly and expectantly for Christ’s coming. In fact as we are now more than half way through Advent, for some of us the fact that we need to wait another couple of weeks to celebrate the coming of Christ seems almost unendurable.

This year Advent is as long as it could possibly be – four full weeks because Christmas is on a Sunday. I already know that the fourth week will seem to drag on and on like those last days of pregnancy when a mother longs for the birth of her child. But this is still the season to wait and hope and anticipate what is coming.

The coming of our Lord is near,

Something new is around the corner,

Love, joy, peace and hope, 

We await the promise of your coming. 

The coming of our Lord is near,

Something new is appearing,

A child, a saviour, God’s much beloved son, 

We await the hope of your coming. 

The coming of our Lord is near,

Something new is being birthed,

A new heaven, a new world, a new community,

We await the long expected One.

The coming of our Lord is near,

We wait in joyful expectation for what is emerging,

Love comes down at Christmas, 

And we await your coming.

 

A Prayer for the Third Sunday of Advent 2011

A Prayer for the third Sunday of Advent

A Prayer for the third Sunday of Advent

The coming of our Lord is near and we await his coming,

Light of the world draw close,

Shine on us with your guiding presence,

Shine in us with your truth and forgiveness,

Shine through us with your mercy and love.

The coming of our Lord is near and we await his coming,

Bring light and life and love into our world, 

Lead us to the fullness of life,

Where peace and righteousness kiss,

Where truth and justice embrace.

Come Lord Jesus Come

You who are love incarnate,

You who give life eternal,

You who are the One in whom all things find completion,

Draw close and teach us the ways of peace.

Come Lord Jesus Come,

You who are fully human yet fully God, 

Come again into our world,

Come again into our lives,

Draw close, come again and make us whole.

Amen

A Prayer for the Second Sunday of Advent 2011

advent-Tara malouf

Live in Expectancy - advent-Tara Malouf redthreadimages.com

This prayer is adapted from prayers that I have posted on facebook this week:

 

Come down Lord Jesus Christ,

Awaken us to know you,

Restore us so that we will renounce violence and injustice.

Keep us awake, 

Do awesome deeds we do not expect,

Come down Lord Jesus Christ,

Turn our hearts towards you,

Breathe in us your deepest desires,

May the banner of your salvation

Be raised over all the peoples of the earth.

Come down Lord Jesus Christ,

Keep us faithful,

Teach us to love mercy,

Lead us to your ways of justice and peace,

Bring your kingdom here on earth.

Come down Lord Jesus Christ,

Judge the world with righteousness,

Bring your faithful people to you,

Come down let us walk in your light,

May we believe and so see the miracles of God.

 

The End of the First Week of Advent and I need to Draw Close

This is the last day of the first week of Advent and I feel a long way from God.  It has been a very busy week with preparation for an MSA Board meeting this morning, a leadership conference in Portland during the week and much to do to get ready for our trip to Australia December 13th.

It is hard to draw close and spend time with God when the pressures of life pull us in so many other directions but it is possible.  But in order to draw close we need to make it a priority in our lives and that means learning to say no to other demanding and sometimes urgent commitments.  Drawing closer to God usually means taking time to withdraw into a quiet place.

One of the speakers at the leadership meeting we attended this last week was songwriter Charlie Peacock. He stated: The greatest object of living is to form within us all that love values. This statement profoundly impacted me and has been a great focus for my reflections in the last 24 hours. What does love look like to me and how does that shape the way that I live my life?  Charlie went on to say “We become what we love” and “Love cannot be on the move if we are afraid”  I would add love cannot be on the move if we are too busy or filled with anxiety either.  His thoughts are reflected in this song he wrote:

To me drawing close to God and living into the love of God are synonymous.  We cannot be close to God as long as we live primarily in a world  whose values are the very antithesis of God’s values – fear instead of love, acquisitiveness and greed instead of generosity, violence & oppression instead of peace.  We all need to take time and make space to draw aside from that world and move more deeply into the presence of God.  Thinking about this a couple of days ago I wrote the following prayer

Light of the world draw near
Shine on us with your guiding presence
Shine in us with your truth and forgiveness
Shine through us with mercy and love
Light of the world draw near fill us with your peace