This week we begin a few things. First and foremost, happy new year! With the coming of the Advent season, we start a new Christian year. And just as I mentioned, we are beginning the Advent season, a time of preparation for the day to come, a day that we often rush to: Christmas.
This first week, as many churches start lighting those Advent wreaths, we will hear prayers, songs, psalms, and scriptures of Hope.
We start the season of Advent in hope, because that is how we should start any journey. We have hope that the risen Christ will be born anew in us and in our world, hope that the kindness and love that saturates the season persists beyond the bounds of the calendar year.
We turn to a portion of Psalm 80 where the people call to God for restoration, much as we call to God for a healing of this world. Let us take in these words as we come before God, the one who we trust in knowing that we do not hope in vain.
Let us pray.
Psalm 80:7, 17-19
Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself. Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name.
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
We seek you, O God of Hope, as a flower seeks the sun. With days getting colder and nights longer, we are made keenly aware of the darkness that often fills our world. As we begin this journey through Advent, shine on, in, and through us that we might see the path before us, a path that leads unerringly to Christ, the source of that light and our true hope for the days to come. Restore us, O God of Hosts, to be the people you created us to be: beings of love and care. This we pray as we wait expectantly for the one who has come and who will yet return. AMEN