Advent -run up to Christmas

Advent traditionally begins the Church’s year and starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. However the timing of Advent has varied through Church history and still does (in the East it is 40 days, like Lent). So it may be good to think about using this form of prayer from mid-November and perhaps be open to moving onto the Christmas form a few days before Christmas day if this better suits the context. This season majors on the themes of Christ’s return and the consummation of creation at the End of all things.

We hope for your salvation, O Lord,
and all our ways are before you.
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.
We long for your salvation, O God,
and your lore is our delight .
http://almanac.oremus.org/todayPause to recognise God’s presence.

My soul faints with longing for your salvation,
and in your word have I put my hope.
http://almanac.oremus.org/todayPsalm[s] and reading[s].
The word be that goes out from God’s mouth
shall not return empty,
it shall accomplish God’s purpose,
and succeed in what it is sent to do.
http://almanac.oremus.org/todayQuiet and/or shared reflection. A framework for reflection, using the pattern of the Lord’s prayer may be used…

A song of praise based on The Song of Zechariah often known as the Benedictus may be said or sung.
Blessed are you, Lord God of Israel;
you have come to your people and set us free.
You have raised up for us a mighty Saviour,
born of the house of your servant David.
Through your holy prophets you promised of old
to save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us;
to show mercy to our forebears
and to remember your holy covenant.
This was the oath you swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship you without fear,
holy and righteous before you,
all the days of our life.
In your tender compassion, O God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

                            Based on the ELLC version of the Benedictus

O Lord, open our lips
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
We have waited on your loving-kindness, O God,
in the midst of your temple.
As with your name, O God,
so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth;
your right hand is full of justice.
Hallowed be your name!
              …when any further expressions of praise and thanks have been shared:

Great and Wonderful
Great and wonderful are your deeds, Lord God the Almighty.
Just and true are your ways, O ruler of the nations.
Who shall not revere and praise your name, O Lord?
For you alone are holy.
All nations shall come and worship in your presence:
for your just dealings have been revealed.
To the One who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honour and glory and might,
for ever and ever. Amen.

              [Adapted from Revelation 15.3-4, original © The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England.]

Our God in heaven, father and mother to us:
Hallowed be your name

‘See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.’
              [Revelation 21.3-4]
Bring in your Reign, O God;
Let your vision prevail.
A day is coming and has already come when all good hopes will blossom and wickedness will die back never to be remembered. Just and merciful God, hasten that Day
and in this age give us a foretaste of your kingdom:
Bring in your Reign, O God
let your vision prevail.
              Concerns and biddings for the good of the world and God’s desires may be mentioned here or after each or all of the following petitions
In that day, death and mourning, crying and pain will be no more and God will wipe away every tear.
Bring in your Reign, O God
Let your vision prevail.
In that Day, of the increase of Christ’s government and peace there shall be no end.
Bring in your Reign, O God
Let your vision prevail.
In that Day, your Spirit will fill all things and all shall know you.
Bring in your Reign, O God
Let your vision prevail.

As we walk the path of your Dream of a healed creation, may we know your hand supplying our needs.
              … recalling of needs in silence or aloud
As we ask for daily bread, Bring in your Reign, O God
Let your vision prevail.

Give us this day the courage and insight to forgive others: as you forgive us our trespasses.
              … a moment of silence for recollection and response to this call …
in our forgiving and being forgiven,
Bring in your Reign, O God
Let your vision prevail.

As we seek to forge a new future living the new life of Christ, let us reflect on what challenges to our faithfulness and integrity the coming hours may bring, and pause before the many unknowns of our future
              …
When we are tested by temptation
strengthen us.
When our commitment to your Love is put to trial,
save us.
When evil ensnares
free us.
For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory,
now and forever. Amen

Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honour
and power and might
be to our God for ever and ever! Amen!
                            [from Revelation 7:12 ]

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