On the seven days before the vigil of Christmas the Church prays for the Messiah’s coming using Old Testament Prophetic images and titles. This contemporary 21st century prayer reflects upon the coming Messiah with the same tiles used in the original 8th century monastic prayers.
Wisdom – December 17
Wisdom – not of old, nor from afar, but today, and be near. Focus on our great and troubled city of New York. Help us to figure out and deal with anger and rage, confusion, sadness, mistrust and miscommunication. Make us wise to be both gentle and strong in speaking and living your truth.
Sacred Lord – December 18
Sacred Lord: We need you more than ever. Some of us are having a hard time seeing your presence in one another. The wonderful diversity of races with which you have blessed us seems too often these days to blind us to the common human race that we all share and that shares your image and likeness.
Flower of Jesse’s stem – December 19
Flower of Jesse’s Stem: God be our strong foundation – even as the land turns and shifts around us into quicksand. May the flower of your stem be justice and peace – and please don’t make us wait ’til next year or even the springtime. If you give me a choice, make our flower be evergreen.
Key of David – December 20
Key of David: God, be the key that opens not only our synagogue, mosque and church doors but the key that opens the hearts of those who use those places to call upon and worship you.
Radiant Dawn – December 21
O Radiant Dawn: Ironic, the darkest day of our year is at hand – undeniably so in the absence of sunlight. This year, help us not to make it the darkest in terms of understanding, communication, justice and reconciliation. Make rise the sun of peace, justice and trust from whatever depths it may have descended in each heart and all hearts, and most especially my own heart.
King of All the Nations – December 22
King of the all the Nations: When we pray for help, compel us to remember you are King of all peoples. Turn a deaf ear to our prayers when we invoke your name against one another or seek our own privilege above another’s. Open wide your ears when we pray for one another.
Emmanuel – God with Us – December 23
God is with us: But why do you seem to hide? Now, today, this very moment, show your face to us and especially to the victims of hate and violence and their families and communities. God, what we see and hear makes us sad, outraged, hurt and confused all at the same time. I know it’s okay to be angry with you – at least for a time – because you can take it. But help us not to be angry at one another. Emmanuel, savior of all people, be with us. Only with you can we do what we have to do– to hate less and love more. Amen.