Prayers, Seasons

Seeking the Light: Advent Prayers …

Advent is the perfect time to clear and prepare the Way. Advent is a winter training camp for those who desire peace. By reflection and prayer, by reading and meditation, we can make our hearts a place where a blessing of peace would desire to abide and where the birth of the Prince of Peace might take place.
— Edward Hays from A Pilgrim’s Almanac

Lord Jesus,
Master of both the light and the darkness,
send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!”
Henri J.M. Nouwen

For the desert places in which we walk
The streets we roam
The paths we cross
Guide our feet
Take us to places
Where you would go
Give us words that you would use
That in this Advent season
Of promise and preparation
We might point the way with John the Baptist
To the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
John Birch

A Piece of Light

As the sun rose, it filled me until I thought I was all light and there was nothing left of what I once called ME. Then suddenly I saw below at the water’s edge another sister of light. My light streamed out to her. Her light flowed back to me and we were one in the light.
Macrina Wiederkehr

There is a piece of light in all of us,
maybe hidden or buried with pain,
perhaps pushed in the corner by shame.
It is there in the arrogant, the hateful,
racists, torturers and abusers,
and ones who are willing to kill.

Seen or unseen, the light is there,
ready to kindle, eager to expand,
refusing to be tightly contained.
As soon as the tiniest space is allowed
it quickly emerges, floods outward,
illuminating the darkest of places.

One single candle lights a little dark space.
Many candles light a world full of people
desperately in need of each other’s glow.

Each lone light makes us stronger
when we all stand together.
— Joyce Rupp from The Cosmic Dance: An Invitation to Experience Our Oneness

The Joy of Discovery

The joy of discovery
that moment
when hope and expectation
were gloriously met
by the illumination of one bright star.
We cannot imagine
what words were spoken by visitors
or if first impressions
left them somewhat confused.
Messiah, Saviour, a King
born in the barest of palaces.
Yet they saw and fell down
on their knees in adoration.
Lord, they saw you and knew
whom they had met.
As we meet around crib
candle or advent wreath
draw us into that stable
in our imagination.
In the quiet moments of prayer
this Christmas, that brief oasis
from the bustle of the world
bring alive to us
the smell of the hay
the sound of the animals
the cry of a baby.
Draw us close to our Saviour
Messiah and King as we bring
not Gold, Myrrh or Frankincense
but the gift of our lives
the only offering we can bring.
John Birch

Souls Seeking Light

With faith that flickers
Like fireflies in the night
We wander, float
A seemingly aimless
Reaching out
Seeking to take
More than give
Survive rather than live
Unaware of the beauty
And brightness of our own light
Reflections are few
When those around you
Only cast shadows
That challenge, ridicule
And dim the radiance of right

We search for
Something more
He has already
Given us His all
Gave us His Word
So we’ll know
Which way to go
In dark nights
And days when
Life’s brightness
Blinds us
His Word
Prepares us
For this test
Called life
Lets us choose
If, even when
But not how
To pass the test
—  Joy  Alford

See also:

Birch Tree on Beeley Moor

Book Store

The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas

The Return of the Light: Twelve Tales from Around the World for the Winter Solstice

Light Upon Light: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany

Through the Advent Door: Entering a Contemplative Christmas

A Winter’s Solstice IV (music)

Winter’s Solstice: Silver Anniversary Edition (music)