Saturday of the first week of Advent
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that you may abound in hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Hope, joy and peace travel together, even as the hope of Christmas brings joy and peace. Well, maybe it’s not exactly peace – as I remember the barely containable excitement of my childhood – but certainly a sense of shalom, the feeling of well-being, goodness and openness of spirit that overtook us along with the excitement of toy catalogs and the Christmas tree.
Hope, joy and peace travel together. The hope that is built on the promise of a world healed, the hope rooted in the creative work of God to call forth the world and to call forth Jesus from the tomb, brings with it joy and peace. Sorrows may surround me, but there is a peace that transcends them. Troubles may face me, but there is a joy that underlies me. And so we sing. We show compassion. We delight in what is good. We celebrate. The joy and peace of Christmas isn’t born of an abundance beneath the tree, but of the child born in the cold of the night and laid in the simple feedbox for cattle in a peasant home – the child in whom the light of the new creation dawns into our world.
Eternal God, Breath of Life,
Font of Hope, and our Eternal Joy;
Open the doors of our hearts, and the gates of your mercy
to come into our world and our lives,
and bring us to that day
when all the earth is redeemed by your presence.
— The prayer for Week 1: A doorway to hope