as we begin this Advent season,
help us open our hearts
to what you need us to be and to do.
As we look forward to Christmas,
remind us of what the birth of Jesus is all about—
Immanuel, God with us.
And because you are with us,
we are invited to let your loving presence
come alive in us in ways that make a difference
to the people in our lives:
to family, friends, neighbors known,
and neighbors unknown.
Like Mary in her answer to the angel, Gabriel,
help us let our defenses down and say “Yes”
to the ways you call us to give your love.
Where we have closed ourselves off
from being who you need us to be
or doing what you need us to do,
help us see with new eyes,
help us make new commitments,
and give us courage to take a risk,
step up, and step out.
You depend on us to deliver your presence.
Help us to trust where you lead.
Help us to become vulnerable to you
so that through our vulnerability
your power and presence
might give your love to the world.
(Rev. John Cannon)