A prayer for the third Sunday of Advent


Paul’s words feel like scolding.
“Don’t be anxious about anything.”

Or at least when people, well-meaning people, come to us in the middle of our fears and depression and awareness of the implications of everything that could go wrong and is going wrong and they say, “Don’t be anxious”, it feels like scolding.

And we add to our anxiety this one: That those fears are one more reason you don’t love us, that we don’t belong.

God, in those moments when “don’t be anxious” feels like a sign of our failure to be strong, remind us that “don’t be afraid” was actually a word spoken when you or your angels were actually present.

God, help us get past well-meaning but inaccurate people who scold our anxiety and get to Paul’s actual invitation to tell you our fears and our longings and our speculations of what may go wrong. And as Paul says, may we know your peace that makes no sense at all to have when things are so amiss.

May your peace stand as a guard in the swirling of our thinking.

May your peace sit as quiet presence by our hearts in their despair.

And somehow in that peace, could we have a glimpse of the joy of being safe?

We ask through Christ our Lord.