Advent 2012 (Second Friday)



“When God seems silent and our prayers go unanswered, the overwhelming temptation is to leave the story – to walk out of the desert and attempt to create a normal life. But when we persist in a spiritual vacuum, when we hang in there during ambiguity, we get to know God.”

– Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life


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Advent 2012 (Second Sunday)



Prayer to Welcome the Sabbath


Lord of Creation,

create in us a new rhythm of life

composed of hours that sustain rather than stress,

of days that deliver rather than destroy,

of time that tickles rather than tackles.


Lord of Liberation,

by the rhythm of your truth, set us free

from the bondage and baggage that break us,

from the Pharaohs and fellows who fail us,

from the plans and pursuits that prey upon us.


Lord of Resurrection,

may we be raised into the rhythm of your new life,

dead to deceitful calendars,

dead to fleeting friend requests,

dead to the empty peace of our accomplishments.


To our packed-full planners, we bid, “Peace!”

To our over-caffeinated consciences, we say, “Cease!”

To our suffocating selves, Lord, grant release.


Drowning in a sea of deadlines and death chimes,

we rest in you, our lifeline.


By your ever-restful grace,

allow us to enter your Sabbath rest

as your Sabbath rest enters into us.


In the name of our Creator,

our Liberator,

our Resurrection and Life,

we pray.



–          From Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals


Advent 2012 (First Sunday)

reaching for light


A prayer for the first Sunday of Advent:


Father in heaven, you came to earth in the person of your Son, Jesus Christ. …

Fill, we pray you, our every moment with his threefold advent. As then he came and now he comes and will one day come again, awaken us to the then and now and one day of his presence in this present moment. As we put on the Lord Jesus Christ, may all our time be clothed by eternity until we find ourselves at last in the home you have prepared for seekers and searchers who, in our seeking and searching, were hopelessly lost. Give us, we pray, the grace to surrender to being found.

This we ask in the name above every name, the name of Jesus Christ.

Amen. Let it be.


–     from a prayer by Richard John Neuhaus, God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas


Read Advent 2011 (Day 1) here.


Advent 2012 (When Waiting is Prayer)


As I write this, we are waiting for snow. I can hear rain on the metal roof of the red barn, but I am straining my ears for quiet. When the rain turns to snow (as the forecast promises it will), quietness will spread the news.

Silence heralds the advent of snow.

There were so many silent years between the words of Malachi and those of Matthew. I imagine the silence building until those who strained their ears, like Simeon and Anna in the temple, could hear the silence speak: He is coming. Hold on. He is coming.

I want to be like Anna.

I want to pray him in with my waiting.

My own season of intense waiting may have ended (with an old Pennsylvania farmhouse and a new baby girl), but I need Jesus more than ever.

I need his presence because, apart from him, this home is just a pile of old bricks crushing us with endless to-dos. Apart from him, there is no hope for me as a mother (the best and hardest thing my firstborn taught me, and it’s a lesson I learn again with each child, is I do not have what it takes).

I desperately need him for today (to give meaning to my dishwashing and the endless picking up of toys), and I need him for tomorrow (because, apart from him, my life has no destination; what am I walking toward?).

And so, this month, I will pause in the midst of online shopping and tree decorating. I will put down the toy catalog and the cookie cutter (which, let’s be honest, will be a relief. I could write a book on the horrors of holiday baking for the child allergic to butter, wheat, and nuts).

I will turn my face towards darkness and watch for light.

I will listen to silence.

I will pray him in with my waiting.

“… come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; Lord, do not delay.”

(Psalm 70:5)

You can read the introduction to last year’s Advent series here.

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