As we start the second week of Advent, I hope you’ll join me in praying through today’s psalm from the Advent readings in the Book of Common Prayer.
1 When the LORD restored the lives of Zion,Psalm 126 (NIV with minor changes)
we were like those who dreamed.
2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
3 The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
4 Restore our lives, O LORD,
like streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.
O LORD, God of Israel, God who has grafted the nations into Your chosen people, we thank You for the joy and privilege of coming into Your presence. We long for Your restoration of Your people, just as Israel did long ago. As we read Your word, we see Your faithfulness that brought joy, laughter, and song. We can proclaim with the nations that You have been faithful to Your people, doing great things for them. But we say that not only based on Your past faithfulness, we proclaim it today: You have done great things for Your people and we too are filled with joy! Even as we celebrate and rejoice in Your faithfulness, though, the brokenness of our world is ever before us. We are reminded of the ways in which we too fall short. Restore us, O LORD. Create in each of us clean hearts that honor and glorify You. May Your Spirit restore us, bringing lives that honor you, just as the rains bring streams of water and life to the parched desert. As we walk in a fallen world filled with weeping and sorrow, may we not simply wander. As we prepare to celebrate Your Son’s birth, may Your Spirit enable us to walk in Your ways, showing the world what You are truly like. By living that way, may we come into Your presence at Christmas and at Your Son’s return with songs of joy and the fruit of a life that has honored You in all that we do. In the name of our precious Savior whom we anxiously await, amen.
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© 2019, 2020, 2021 Jennifer Brown Jones