This Prayer for Peace was written and offered by Evangelist David Brock in
the November 28, 2021, Community Connections online worship
on our first Sunday of Advent (HOPE). It was offered as a
Prayer for Peace and Hope for those who struggle during the holidays.
These are holy days, God. This is a sacred time and season. But that does not always mean it is a happy time, or a joy-filled time or a peaceful time, as you well know.
Death of loved ones happens even on Thanksgiving; a mother dies in childbirth on Christmas Eve. Divorces are finalized during this season when we long for joy, hope, love and peace. A baby is born in a manger, yes, and wise men and shepherds and angels herald the birth, but somewhere a child hurts during advent—of malaria, of mistreatment, or struggles with mental or physical debilities. Someone has lost their job and there is no feast. Someone is so alienated from family that there is no invitation to share the feast. Not one.
Life continues with all its risks and unpredictability, God, even in this sacred season. The Christian calendar year is finished. A new year Christian year begins with the desire for the birth, the return of the one who we call Messiah and Savior and Teacher and Emmanuel. Hope springs in this winter season. Come thou long expected Jesus, come and set us free– All of us. The rich and the poor. The happy and sad. All of us.
God, we understandably want our days to end in reconciliation, in an embrace, in a solution to the conflicts of living—like in a Hallmark movie. Of course we want that and I think you understand. Of course we want snowflakes falling freshly and presents under the tree, and a table groaning under the weight of a feast. Who wouldn’t want that and why not? Happy Holidays and a Merry Season to us; the merriest of all.
But, we pray tonight for those who mourn and weep at Christmas. These may not be holidays for them in the traditional sense. But these are holy days, sacred days; these are especially their days. These are days to declare: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
May all those people, God, especially those people (maybe right here and right now in this service) know that this is their season. This is the season when mourning may or may not lead to dancing, but this is the season of your strength for their weakness. It is the season when our pains are carried—our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.. This is the season when you say to those conflicted or bereaved: “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God.”
This is your holy season. These are holy days because they are your days. These are the days when the lonely and those that mourn are comforted. In Jesus name, Amen.