An Advent Prayer

On Saturday, my family and I went to the Columbus Zoo Lights. With upbeat holiday music filling the air, we strolled through dazzling, colorful light displays. Everywhere we looked people were smiling and laughing.

The following morning, I got up early and took a long walk through a chilly, foggy Smith Park with melancholy Advent music in my earbuds.

As I walked through the park, I reflected on how these two walks were appropriate for this season. For many of us, this time of year is full of joy and laughter and bright lights. We love the Christmas trees, the decorations, the music and the holiday cheer. For others, this season is heavy, painful and disorienting.

Whether this season feels like a stroll through colorful lights or a long, cold walk in the fog, He invites us to look to Him for hope.

Don’t be overly distracted by the shiny things of the season but look for the “true light that gives light to everyone” (John 1:9). Don’t put your hope in the “spirit of Christmas” but look to Jesus Christ. For others, don’t let the fog overcome you. Don’t let it lull you to sleep. But stay alert (Mark 13:33), looking for flashes of Kingdom light in the darkness.

During my long walk in the fog, I wrote this benediction. It is my prayer over the church this season:

In a world of hurry, may you have space to slow down.
In an age of distraction, may you have the grace to pay attention.
In a society of cynics, may you hold fast to ancient hope.
O Wisdom
O Adonai
O Root of Jesse
O Key of David
O Dayspring
O King of the Nations
O Emmanuel
Come Lord Jesus come
Into our laughter and into our longing.
Into our celebrating and into our weeping.
Into our parties and into the long nights of loneliness.
Into our strolls through Christmas lights
And into our cold walks through the fog.
Would you give us eyes to see your light and life?

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