God, giver of joy,
thank you for squirming of babies,
for the irrepressible giggles of toddlers,
for preschoolers with their boundless energy
and for each child who shared the Christmas story with us this year.
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–
Saviour of the world, the Prince of Peace
Jesus, give joy this week 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 also pray for our Households of Faith.
Listening God, we are waiting for joy in a world that is often bleak and cheerless.
We can easily succumb to despair, discouragement.
Violence and consumerism abounds 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