Prayer for Advent

Eternal spirit, indwelling in us all, may we never forget the significance of advent as a time of preparation, not just for Christmas, but for the passing of the old year and the welcoming of the new.

Christmas, for most of us, means the buying and receiving of presents, the decoration of our homes with greenery… and much else. Many of these customs are very old, their origin lost in antiquity – further back in time than the coming of Christianity.

At midwinter, when the hours of daylight were fewest, the warmth of the sun weakest, and life itself seemingly at a low ebb, our ancient ancestors kept festivals by lighting bonfires and decorating all around with evergreen to sustain them at this most challenging time of the year.

May our acts of celebration at this season inspire us to work for brighter and more enlivening times in the coming year when the world we live in may often appear in danger of slipping into chaos and negativity.

Let us celebrate the cycle of the year by these December activities, as symbols of renewal. The evergreen branches even now in this seemingly dead season are living and will renew. The seeds of growth and hope are ever present within and around us, just waiting to appear to us in the

coming new year as they have always done in the past.

Now is a time to celebrate possibilities.

Alan Ruston

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