“Gracious and merciful God, on this day when Advent is ending and little more can be done by human preparation, I commit to you all my incomplete tasks, my unfulfilled hopes, and my unprepared heart. Lift them from me and give me in exchange peace and serenity to accept the gift of your Word and to hear anew tonight the gospel of the birth of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
— Timothy Lull
Yes, I know that Advent has now passed for this year and we are into the liturgical season of Christmas with all the joyful celebrations that come with it. And yet today I still was remembering this prayer that was posted by a friend of mine on her Facebook page on Christmas Eve. Even though we are putting away the blue Advent candles and thinking about when to find time to take down the other holiday decorations, I think that there is still something within this prayer that can speak to us as we look ahead to the coming of the new year.
Perhaps, like me, on these last days before 2014 begins, you are looking back at what happened during 2013… maybe thinking of those tasks that might have gone undone, the words we might have left unsaid, the disappointment of what did not come to pass. We cannot go backwards to change what we did or didn’t do… but the good news is that in the fulfillment of the Christmas miracle, we have been renewed by the birth of Christ once again to our world. As Christmas has passed, we are redeemed by this wonderful gift from God and have a new chance to start again… to let go of 2013 and embrace what is to come. As 2014 stretches before us now, there is an opportunity for transformation and restoration. We can “hear anew the gospel” and let it rekindle in us new things and new opportunities.
So, say this prayer with me today for peace and serenity in exchange for our regrets… and let us see what the new year might bring to us. What are you looking forward to in 2014? Where do you hope God is leading you?
Jennifer Michael, of Dubuque, Iowa, is president of Women of the ELCA for the 2011-2014 triennium.
Photo by Dan Moyle. Used with permission.