A prayer given at Pillar Church in Holland, Michigan on December 24, 2018.
God of Advent’s light,
In the beginning, you hovered over chaos and from your imagination
spoke a Word to order the dew of a new reality,
a word voiced from the deep primordial darkness that set into
motion a world bathed in your changeless light.
But as creatures blessed in Your image,
we chose the shadow of ourselves,
and favored our chaos over your order,
so much that we no longer could hear
the cadence of Your voice –
The voice making all things new…
We lost all sensitivity and suffered in our madness of disbelief.
We were alone, hiding, afraid in despondent shadows
as you cried out, “Where are you… where are you?”
Down through the canyons of time you kept calling… to Israel…
and through Israel You called to the world,
“Where are you?”
“Christ’s Light embodied with us
is God’s response to His garden’s cry to us: “Where are you?””
You called out crying until… until that chosen moment when…
You entered time to put on flesh,
to be with us as us!
In that moment when to all…
“born in the city of David
a messiah who is the savior
This is the moment when You spoke
“Let there be light” into living flesh;
the eternal Word thundering through the whimper of a Child.
This Child, nursed through the body of Mary,
protected by Joseph’s integrity,
is himself the visible presence of the invisible God,
the fragile whisper of incarnated hope
breathing new life into humanity.
As divine God with us, this Child is the goal;
as human, He is the way –
the eternal wisdom of Light from true light.
The Lord, the Savior, the Messiah, has come, from the city of David,
and has lit the wick of humanity’s hope for
all people, at all times, and in all places;
The Hope that God is here
to claim us as own!
Christ’s Light embodied with us
is God’s response to His garden’s cry to us: “Where are you?”
For in Christ’s infant cry,
God answers on our behalf: “I am here… I am here for you –
Wherever you are hiding…
Wherever you are scared…
Wherever you are lost…
Christ answers God for us:
“I am here…
“The revelation you are here… for us… with us…
is our secret longing undressed.”
If we are honest, this revelation of your presence is what we most need.
We need it more than knowledge, more than money,
or status, or even food, for we do not live by bread alone.
The revelation you are here… for us… with us…
is our secret longing undressed.
It is the air in the lungs of faith;
the song in the ears of hope;
the blood pumping through
the heart of Love.
We long, in this storied sanctuary, for the breathtaking event
of Your divine presence to re-dress our daily reality.
But if we are honest with you God,
we press through the doors of Hope with an ache in our soul.
After the daily flow and ebb of life,
we arrive on the eve of Christmas to reorient
our frayed & tattered selves.
We come together,
a congregation of women and men,
sons and daughters, husbands and wives,
friends and strangers, believers and those trying to believe,
to tune our ears to hear from You, to listen to your Word,
who continues to speak Your Light into our darkness,
that reverberates like an organ in the sanctuary of the soul.
So we sit alert in advent anticipation – expectant –
For we know, on the eve of gifts,
You are the giver who reminds us the best gifts
come from surprising places, unwrapped
or in odd, ordinary, or offbeat ways –
a poem, a prayer, a forgiving nod,
from the cry of a baby,
or a church standing to sing
“O Come O Come Immanuel.”
So we dedicate ourselves tonight
to let Your Light shine in our lives,
as souls lit like candles in the window,
allowing the expectant hope of the Christ’s revelation
to change us, in the twinkling of an eye,
so that we can live this life, here, now…
embodied as Light in the darkness –
knowing the darkness cannot
overcome the Light
of the risen Son!