Advent is a “peculiar” season. Its petition, “Come, Lord Jesus,” is the constant refrain throughout its four weeks. Those words pulse with a holy urgency. But an important question to ask ourselves is this: to whom are those words addressed? This is the question Genevieve Glen, OSB, raises in her new book, By Lamplight: A Book of Biblical Reflections. Is our “Come, Lord Jesus” addressed to a Christ born long ago in Bethlehem—and is now long gone? Or are they addressed to a Christ who will come in future glory at the end of time? Glen implies that the best answer might be “neither.” For the truth is, when we pray “Come, Lord Jesus,” we are mostly asking Jesus to come now… here… today… in this time… in this place… in this particular situation.
Heaven knows we need Jesus’ presence in our world today. Just glance at our headlines. Just think of the loved ones you are worried about. Just think of friends and acquaintances who have serious health issues. And just look into your own heart for those places you need Jesus’ love, mercy, and strength.
With this thought in mind, here is a short Advent prayer I wrote that can be prayed not only in Advent, but in other seasons as well. Maybe you’ll find yourself in some of these petitions.
Come, Lord Jesus
When we find ourselves anxious about many things… Come, Lord Jesus.
When we don’t know what to do next… Come, Lord Jesus.
When we feel overwhelmed by the demands being placed upon us… Come, Lord Jesus.
When we’re grieving the loss of a loved one… Come, Lord Jesus.
When family members are estranged from one another or are at odds with each other… Come, Lord Jesus.
When we feel lonely and left out… Come, Lord Jesus.
When we don’t feel like celebrating Christmas—or anything… Come, Lord Jesus.
When we’ve lost patience with others and with ourselves… Come, Lord Jesus.
When we’re petty and self-righteous… Come, Lord Jesus.
When we can’t bear to hear one more sad story… Come, Lord Jesus.
When we’re ready to give up all hope for a better world… Come, Lord Jesus.
When we’re encouraged by the kindness of a stranger… Come, Lord Jesus.
When a loved one says “thank you” for our small favor… Come, Lord Jesus.
When our hearts are touched by one of the Advent readings… Come, Lord Jesus.
When we feel like making an angel in the newly fallen snow… Come, Lord Jesus.
When our cookies turn out well… Come, Lord Jesus.
When a child makes us laugh… Come, Lord Jesus.
When we spot a red cardinal against the white snow… Come, Lord Jesus.
When we’re moved to take some canned goods to our local food pantry… Come, Lord Jesus.
When the cat starts purring on our lap… Come, Lord Jesus.
When we’re warmed by the thought of seeing family and friends again… Come, Lord Jesus.
When we go to sleep counting our blessings… Come, Lord Jesus.
For reflection: I invite you to add a few petitions of your own to this prayer…
I wish you all a very blessed Advent!
PS: I am making my annual retreat November 27 to December 4. I ask for your prayers. I also promise to remember you, my “sunflower community,” in special prayer each day! Thank you!
Today’s song is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” I was amazed at all the different versions of this 12th Century Hymn that are available on YouTube. You might want to check them out. This version is a traditional Choral hymn sung in English and the original Latin. The words are set against some lovely stained glass windows.
As always, I encourage you to comment on today’s reflection below.