God, giver of joy,
thank you for the open sweet gaze of babies,
for the irrepressible giggles of toddlers,
and for the sight of preschoolers holding hands as they play.
Thank you that we are made for joy
and that advent reminds us of this.
Help us wait in hopeful anticipation for this gift of joy–
an incongruous Saviour, the Prince of Peace
come down to us as a baby in diapers.
Jesus, give joy this week even to those who are suffering:
joy in the midst of illness, through a keen sense of your presence,
joy in the midst of grief, through an awareness of love deeper than death,
joy in the midst of anxiety, through sudden fleeting moments of beauty.
We are waiting for joy in a world that is often bleak and cheerless.
There is always something bothering us, a shadow.
Evil flourishes, and it blights lives and communities.
And we help it flourish—
we confess our own selfishness, hoarding things for ourselves,
or our own racism, our own fear of the other, fear of the stranger.
Around the world you know the suffering we inflict on each other.
Thank you for that even in this barren earth,
you cause joy to bubble up.
In joy, help us lavish generosity at Christmas;
not just on those we love, but generosity to charities, and to those in need.
Help us lavish forgiveness on those who’ve hurt us.
We long for the joy of relationships renewed and restored
All this joy to the world is from you,
radiating out from a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.
We join our hearts together this morning in joyful praise:
Glory to God in the Highest! Gloria! Amen