Beloved, as we reflect on this season of Advent, let it be our care and delight to prepare ourselves to hear again the message of the angels, and in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem, to see the Babe lying in a manger. Let us read and mark in Holy Scripture the tale of the loving purposes of God from the first days until the incarnation of love made flesh by this holy Child; and let us look forward to the yearly remembrance of his birth with songs of praise.

And let us remember brothers and sisters because this of all things would rejoice his heart; those who are poor, hungry, cold, helpless, or oppressed; the sick and those who mourn; the aged and the little children; and all who rejoice with us but on another shore and in a greater light, that multitude which none can number, whose hope was in the Word Made Flesh. Stir up our hearts that our feet may be strengthened for your service, and our path made straight for the work of justice and reconciliation.

Most merciful God, you took on human flesh not in the palace of a king but in the humility of poverty: Grant that your life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart; that, following in the steps of your blessed Son, we may give of ourselves in the service of others. Bless the work of Magdalene, Thistle Farms. Aban, Holy Cross Hospice, Lwala, Blood Water Mission, St. Luke’s, Faith Family, Ikerizi, Escuela Anne Stevens, Episcopal Relief and Development, and all the ministries served and led by the St. Augustine's community. 

O God, in whom there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free: Unite the wills of all people, that the walls which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; so that all may live together in justice, harmony, and peace. Bless the labors of all who minister to the sick, and unite the wills of nations and peoples in seeking an end to the pandemics of our age; that sickness may be turned to health and sorrow turned to joy. Inspire us to use the riches of creation with wisdom, and to ensure that their blessings are shared by all people. Inspire in our nation, its leaders and people a spirit of devotion. 

We praise you for the faithfulness and devotion of your Servant Mary, our Holy Mother. Protect the health and safety of all women in childbirth and the children whom they bear, and inspire your people to build strong and healthy families and communities. We commend to your mercy all your departed servants; and we pray that we, too, may share with the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints in the joy of your heavenly reign.

Let us say the Lord’s prayer together: 

The Almighty God bless us with grace; Christ give us the joys of everlasting life; and to the fellowship of the citizens above may the Angels bring us all. Amen.

 Peace and love,