Advent 2 Liturgy

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David.
By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us:
To give light to those who sit in darkness and to guide our feet in the way of peace.

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Prince of Peace whose coming we await. Draw us into your presence this morning and show us the path back to our Creator. Where there is confusion, give us clarity. Where there is hatred, instruct us in love. Where there is oppression, grant justice. Where there is resentment, teach us to forgive. And in all things, grant us your peace, for we ask this in your Name. Amen.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION  (for one voice)
We profess you, O God, to be the salvation of all people. And as we approach the celebration of your Incarnation, we long to let ourselves fall into the gentle consolation of the Christmas message—into the joy of your birth. We hear the good news that he brings justice to the oppressed, wholeness to the needy, and peace for all peoples. But we see the suffering and warfare that surrounds us, and we begin to falter. Doubts nest in our minds, and we continue our search for your way on earth. Have mercy on us, O God. Sense our longing, hear our cries, heal our brokenness, and let justice and peace grow in our hearts, in our community, and in our world. 
As we pray for ourselves, O God, we also lift up to you those whose situations weigh heavy upon us this morning. In the silence that surrounds us, hear us as we bring our petitions to your throne of grace… 
 [A silence is kept.] 
All this we pray in the Name of your Son Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, God forevermore. Amen.

With hearts lifted up, we give thanks to you, O God. Though you are eternally Emmanuel—God-with-us—yet during this holy season, we prepare for your coming to us as a little Child. Soften the furrows of our hearts that the seed of your grace may be implanted in us. Humble us and make us worthy receptacles of your healing word. Send now your Spirit to settle on these gifts that in the bread and wine we may discern the body and blood of your Son. By that same Spirit, bring us closer to you and to one another, that the Good News of your birth may be lived out in our ministry. All this we pray in Jesus Christ in your Holy Church. Amen.

Our church is decked out in the beautiful decorations of the season and Christmas will soon be here. And yet we know that shopping and feasting and decorating alone do not fulfill us. Our souls long for the inner peace that only God can grant. And so I invite you to come to the table. Here you will meet the Almighty in an infant born in a stable, in the words of the Sermon on the Mount, in bread broken by the seaside, in anguish emanating from a cross, and in the silence of an empty tomb. Our journey to wholeness takes us through many experiences, so no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome here. Come to the table: eat the bread, drink the wine… experience the fullness of God’s love.

Let us pray.
You come to us, O God, not only at Christmas, but every time we gather around your table. As we partake of this holy meal, grant us wholeness in your Son Jesus Christ, give us unity in your Holy Spirit, and strengthen us to be messengers of your peace in a troubled world; for we pray this in your Name. Amen.

Go now in peace, we sing.
And today above all days, let us mean it.
The world is troubled,
and we are disciples of the Prince of Peace.
So let us go in peace.

Go now in faith, we sing.
And today, may the faith that we profess
be in our hearts and on our lips.
Let us go forth in faith.

Go now in love, we sing.
And today, let the love of God so richly rule our lives,
that those to whom love is a stranger
will find in us generous friends.

Indeed, go now in the love of God,
the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.