An Advent Prayer

Every year on the first Sunday in Advent I pull a tattered scrap of paper from last year’s Christmas folder and tape it between my kitchen windows–the one place in all the house where I know I will see something every single day. Perhaps eventually I’ll get around to having this prayer made into a pretty plaque suited for such a prominent display. But, perhaps not. After all, it’s the words that matter.

And, oh, how they matter. In their unembellished candor they at once expose my need and express my ideals. I need their accountability on a daily basis:

Lord Jesus, Master of both the light and the darkness,
send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!

~Henri Nouwen


About the author


  1. Thank you, Lanier, for reminding us where we need to put our focus. And bless you and Philip for having “the crew” for Thanksgiving!!!! Katie had such a wonderful reprieve – and enjoyed so much being with you all in your beautiful home!! Love!

  2. Thank you for this Henri Nouwen prayer, Lanier. This, “they at once expose my need and express my ideals” is exactly what the words of the prayer do.

    You mentioned a couple of days ago, that today is your Christmas tree day. I hope you have a delightful afternoon finding the perfect tree and eating waffles. Here is a prayer for the occasion of decorating the tree which I discovered several years ago. (I’m sorry I no longer recollect the source.) I thought you might like it.

    “Bless, we beseech Thee, O Holy God, Father Almighty, this noble tree which we have adorned in honor of the birth of Thy only begotten Son, and so adorn our souls with the manifold beauties of Thy graces, that being internally enlightened by the splendour radiating from this tree, we like the wise men, may come to adore Him who is eternal Light and Beauty, the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.