Today marks the first Sunday of Advent. It was wonderful to have one of the families in our church light the first candle of the Advent wreath, as well as lead the church in a reading. I came across this little gem by Robert Louis Stevenson, which I think beautifully captures the reason we have a season of Advent to prepare us for the celebration of Christ’s birth.

Loving Father,
help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift
and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing
which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning
make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds
with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven,
for Jesus’ sake.

– Robert Louis Stevenson