Today is Friday, Dec. 23, our last day praying together in the Advent season. Tomorrow, we will celebrate Christmas Eve, entering a celebration of the incarnation!
Praise and Thanksgiving.
Our final psalm of anticipation as we pray, Psalm 110, is warlike and brutal, a sharp contrast to the baby in the manger we will celebrate tomorrow night. This is a psalm of power and conquest, a declaration of God’s sure triumph over evil. God comes among us in love to save us, but let’s never forget that the divine power and plan are absolute. Jesus will return with full authority one day.
Let’s also pray this together:
“Lord, your glory is eternal, existing before creation and beyond creation. As the created, we once again praise you and look forward to the day when we live in your eternal light. May our celebrations of the incarnation appropriately honor you and open us to a deeper understanding of your magnificence. Amen.”
What other words of thanks and praise might we lift up?
Confession. As we anticipate meeting the Christ child, let’s quietly search our hearts once again for what is opposed to God, recognizing our propensity to sin and trusting in God’s grace.
Petitions. As we move toward celebrating the great truth that changes the world, let’s once again pray from global concerns down to personal concerns, seeking how we might be the answer to some of the problems around us.
Scripture: Hebrews 1
Let’s pray this prayer together one more time:
“Lord, we have passed through a season of expectation. We remember the Israelites’ past desire for a savior to arrive, and we mirror what they felt as we long now for the return of Jesus Christ. Come Lord Jesus, come! We pray this with some trepidation, knowing we never feel completely ready for such a day, and that loved ones around us may not be ready. And yet we continue to pray, Come Lord Jesus, come! We trust that your grace at your return will so overwhelm sin and death that all will be set right. As we pray for your full arrival, teach us how to make ourselves ready, living as watchful people. Amen.”
At a minimum, let’s spend some significant time in a quiet, reflective state before retiring for the night. Embrace the day’s spiritual victories and release the failures.
Sleep well. Having lived and prayed in anticipation, may Christmas fill your hearts.