We've not yet reached the shortest day, but this year I'm conscious of so many friends who are finding it almost impossible to engage in any way with the mad partying of the world as it prepares for Christmas, or even with the gentler anticipation that fills our churches with wonder and longing as the days of Advent speed past.
This year, friends have been bereaved, have dealt with broken promises and broken relationships. This year, friends have suffered illness or, worse, have watched those they love suffering.
This year, for some, the promise of Emmanuel, God with us seems all but meaningless.
So when I found this prayer for the longest night, I had to post it for them, and for anyone else who really needs an assurance that the Light shines in the darkness.
Holy God of Advent
You became weak
So we would find strength in our moments of heartbreak;
you left the safety of heaven
to wander the wilderness of the world,
holding our hands when we feel hopeless;
you set aside your glory
to hold our pain so we might be healed,
even when there seems no hope;
you became one of us,
so we would never be alone in any moment,
in any circumstance..
So come now, child of Bethlehem
to strengthen us in these days.
May we feel your presence
in a way we have never known,
not just as one born in a stable
long ago and far away
but as the One born in our hearts.
You have promised to go before us:
into our brokenness, into hospital rooms,
into empty houses, into graveyards,
into our future held by God,
and you are here, even now,
waiting for each of us;
to serve us,
to hold us,
to comfort us,
to heal us,
to live us, now and for ever.
ETA Though I promise I do have other books on my shelves, this is yet another offering from the ever-wonderful Candles and Conifers