Pastoral Prayer at the End of Advent


Most gracious God,

desire of every living thing,

you have lighted our way in Advent

candle by candle,

dispelling our gloom.

and now four candles shine.

The night is almost over.

The Day is almost here.

But not yet.

Promise by promise

you have cleared our sight

with words from afar,

dreams, signs and wonders,

and now the Word made flesh

Is almost appearing.

But not yet.

Grace by grace

you have kept us awake,

brightening our eyes of faith,

and now we watch only a little more.

Now on tiptoe we see

the one we waited for

is almost here.

But not yet.

At the end of Advent,

in these days of not quite yet,

look with compassion

on the pain of the joyless,

the grief of the childless,

the sorrow of the bereaved:

for not all people enjoy the season,

not every family embraces,

not every womb conceives and carries,

not every day dawns with the presence of those we love,

not every story is full of angels,

not every song is ‘Glory!’

As we tell again the story

of your coming among us,

bind our hearts to the anguish of the poor,

the suffering of the sick,

the misery of the imprisoned,

and keep us alive to the terrors of war,

too easily forgotten, too easily accepted.

Increase the joy of earth,

and help us relish with thankful hearts

every good thing that will be ours at Christmas:

every pleasure and taste,

every sound and sight,

every touch and memory,

so that in the delight of our bodies

and the thoughts of our minds

we will know and love you,

who visits us through every sense and pore.

More than anything, O God,

we ask for Christ –

to meet his love, to know his goodness,

to experience his power, to be attracted to his way.

We ask for Christ—

to make the difference, to anchor our hearts,

to lead the way, to bring us home.

We ask for Christ – for cradle and cross,

for lullaby and lament, for life and death

and life made new in him.

In hope we pray,

the spirit of Christmas leaping within us,

heartened by his almost visitation,

the words he taught us on our lips:

Our Father….

10 thoughts on “Pastoral Prayer at the End of Advent

  1. rachaelkeefe

    Thank you for this, Mary. As one who has spent days writing liturgy (and blog post and emails and letters and…) and keeping company with those who struggle to find joy, your words begin to refill the tired, running-on-empty places in my spirit.

  2. Poetarc

    Desire of Every Living Thing (Advent Hymn)
    (Written to St. Flavian CM – tune for “On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist Cries”).

    1. De-sire of ev-‘ry liv-ing thing,
    com-pas-sion bring to light,
    Hope for your pro-mised birth-ing, God,
    day draw-ing in from night.

    2. On tip-toe seek-ing signs of you,
    the edge of our sha-lom,
    Peace pray your pre-sence meet each grief,
    your song yet find a home.

    3. An-chor of hearts, your sto-ry bind
    us in this groan-ing world,
    Joy here em-brace to stay a-wake,
    your cre-a-tion un-furl.

    4. Dwell-er of word, bear-er of beam,
    from cra-dle un-to cross,
    Love make us strong with-in your pow’r,
    your sight and sound to trust.

    5. De-sire of ev-‘ry liv-ing thing,
    your vis-i-ta-tion keep
    Christ in our taste and in our touch,
    your spir-it reach-ing leap.


    Lyrics William B Jones, 2016, after Mary Luti’s “Prayer at the End of Advent.”

  3. Pingback: Desire of Every Living Thing (Advent Hymn) – Faith to Keep (Poet's Arc)

Comments are closed.