A prayer for the fourth Sunday of Advent

Advent art

Lord, it’s the fourth Sunday of Advent, as I think you know, you who created the universe and everything in it, including me and all the stuff I like to think of as belonging to me.

Anyway, today is the fourth Sunday of Advent, as I mentioned, and I’m sitting here in the early morning darkness, with the house still, my cup of coffee nearby, made from freshly-ground beans, just the way I like it, and the dog is waiting patiently for our daily walk around the block. (I like this time of day – once again, as you know.)

And I’m thinking about what this day means – for me, for you, and for the world you made.  Such big thoughts for so early in the morning, I know.

So much of what I hear from friends at this point in the season is whether or not they’re in the mood, whether or not they’ve captured the spirit, or whatever they think they’re supposed to be feeling right about now. And I confess that I’ve done quite a bit to get myself into the mood.  I put up the tree, for example, and decorated it, while listening to lovely Christmas music.  That was nice.  And last week I went to the big Christmas concert in town, featuring candlelight and over 200 singers and musicians, you know the one.  I hope you liked it, too.

And I came away that night thinking, “Hey, I’m really in the mood now!  And look!  There’s even snow on the ground!”

But this morning, before anyone else is up, before I’m fully awake, I realize that this season doesn’t depend on me.  Whether I’m in the mood or not.  Whether I’ve got the spirit or not.  And I’m thinking that might actually be good news.

Because whatever I’m feeling – or not feeling – you looked with love on the world you made, and you became one of us.  And not just a better version of us.  You came to us as a baby, born to a mom and dad.  You lived our lives as we must live them, with laughter and friends, as well as betrayal and loss.  You did all that.  And much more besides.

So, to wrap this up, because I know others (not as industrious as I am) are waking up and offering their morning prayers too, I’m trying my best to remember that none of this depends on me.  None of it whatsoever. My joy this season is what you did for me.  And for the whole world.  And for that I’m more grateful than I can possibly say.  Amen.

About Doug

I have been a writer ever since fifth grade when I won second prize in a “prose and poetry” contest. I am also a Presbyterian pastor, and for several years toward the end of my career I lived and worked in Zürich, Switzerland. I am now retired and live just north of Holland, Michigan, along the lake.


7 Responses to A prayer for the fourth Sunday of Advent

  1. Clark Ellis December 22, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    Thank you Doug for the inspirational prayer on this fourth Sunday of Advent.
    I to am up early this morning however there is not snow on the ground. It melted this past week. We are up to 70 today.
    I am dressed and getting ready to go to breakfast and then to church. We only have one service this morning because the choir is having their concert.

    • Doug December 22, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

      I’m guessing you would have preferred a sermon, Clark. But I hope the choir was good – and that you have a wonderful Christmas.

  2. Jeff Edwards December 22, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    I’m at a loss for words. Maybe it’s that I slept hard last night after watching The Christmas Story as we do every year, and as I look for a juxtaposition between it and what I just read, they both are just very simple earthly ways of reminding me, us, of how much we really have to be thankful for. A red Rider bob gun we wanted,or just getting “in the mood” it’s really about Gods gift of a baby, a small thing that just means everything. Happy fourth Sunday in lLent, Doug. You are also a blessing in my life.

    • Jeff Edwards December 22, 2013 at 10:50 am #

      Advent not lent. I was too tired

      • Doug December 22, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

        I knew what you meant, Jeff. It’s a thoughtful comment. Merry Christmas to you and your family. I hope you finally get your BB gun.

  3. Andrea Stewart December 22, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    Thank you for that prayer as I prepare to tell the children the story of Christ’s birth in Children’s Church this morning. Tell them that Jesus was once a child… just like them…

    • Doug December 22, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

      I hope it went well, Andrea!

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