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An Advent Prayer for the Fearful

In Advent, we sing –
Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set thy people free
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in thee.

But we confess, Lord, that we are very fearful people.

We are afraid to fail;
And we are afraid of the risks necessary to succeed.

We are afraid we do not have enough power;
And we are afraid when others have too much.

We are afraid of uncertainty;
And we are afraid of easy answers.

We are afraid of the dark;
And we are afraid when it gets too bright.

We are afraid of being alone;
But we are perhaps even more afraid of being known.

We know the angels tell Mary, and Joseph, and the shepherds, all of us: “Do not be afraid!”  
But it seems we don’t know how to do this.

Please, Jesus, teach us how to not be afraid.

It seems we’re so used to being afraid we don’t even know what we fear.
So please, Spirit, search our hearts and reveal our fears to us –
even the ones hidden under years of habit and layers of justified avoidance.

And then, when all is laid bare – let us see, feel, hear you with us.
Your very presence in the midst of our fears will bring peace, like a table set before us in the presence of our enemies.
Surround us and fill us with your perfect love that drives out all fear.

And we will rejoice in your coming!
We will rejoice in our freedom!
We will rejoice in the rest that will end our homesickness.

For even in the presence of all there is to fear –
you are here.

And it is much easier not to be afraid when we realize
it is not only angels in the heavens,
But you -- right beside us! -- telling us “do not be afraid!”

Please, Lord, may it be so.