Advent Prayer of Confession

For one voice

Eternal God, the salvation of all people:
without you, our lives are hollow,
our hearts empty.
The promise of your presence at Christmastime
fills us with hope and joy.
The carols and the lights move us to goodwill.
The message of the angels
begets in us a longing for peace.

Yet despite the holy joy that surrounds us,
we too often seek happiness in that which is not you,
in that which does not conform
to the one whose birth we celebrate.
Forgive us, and teach us true joy.

Though the Baby in the manger gives us reason to hope,
we sometimes fail to encourage those around us.
Forgive us, and give us words to speak and deeds to do
that fill others with the knowledge of your forgiveness,
that through faith in your Son, life can be new again.

We sing of peace on earth,
and yet our world seems to be at war.
Our hearts are not uplifted by the promise of peace,
and our prayers have lost their patience.
Forgive us, grant us patience to wait for you,
and strength to be true peacemakers.

We speak of you as Love, O God,
and we long for more love
in our lives, in our nation, and in our world.
And yet we too often give in to the temptation
to divide ourselves from our neighbor.
Where you see us as one human family,
we see color and language and customs
as unsurmountable differences.
Forgive us and unite us in your Spirit.

As we light the candles on the Advent wreath,
help us to embrace their message,
so that the Christ Child
may find room in our hearts this Christmas.
There may he truly mature,
that our lives may better conform to his Image,
for it is in his Name that we pray. Amen.