Advent Prayers for the Heavy-Hearted

This article originally shared here

For many, December is a tough month. Long hours at work, extended family, the holiday chaos of gifts and parties, decorating and obligations; it’s a bit much for most people. And then there are others whose hearts are especially heavy at Christmas, even if they appear merry on the outside.

Maybe you are one of them. 

You hear people wishing “Merry Christmas” and you want to fall apart right there in the front of the department store. Your kids are excited about Elf on the Shelf and getting their chocolate each night of Advent, but you are inwardly groaning. Typically this is your favorite season: Advent—the weeks leading up to the best holiday on the calendar. The beautiful decor, the twinkling lights, the savory food and sweet treats that spill from the kitchen all month long; these have always been things that you’ve looked forward to enjoying—until this year.
The interesting thing about the story of Christmas is that most of the characters were not feeling very “merry” either. As they walked through the weeks leading up to Jesus’ birth two millennia ago, there were many who felt just like you do: forgotten, scared, alone, full of doubt, worried, looked over, rejected, fearful.
The Jewish people were without hope; they lived under Roman oppression and prayed that God would send the Messiah to rescue them from their situation. Mary was a frightened teenager birthing a baby, with the help of a man whom she’d never been intimate with, in a dirty, stinky barn filled with animals—not exactly how she’d imagined bringing her first child into the world. Joseph had just decided to father Mary’s illegitimate child, even though that didn’t make any sense; chances are he probably had a few “Why me, God?” prayers. King Herod was a nervous and paranoid ruler, and the shepherds were the low-class laborers working on Christmas Eve.
In the midst of their suffering and despair, even as doubt and worry flooded their minds, despite what questions loomed, or how unsure of the future they were—Jesus came.
With light for the dark places that we are surrounded by. With hope for those situations that seem hopeless. With joy for the days when there is nothing to smile about. With peace for the circumstances that keep us up at night.
If this is where you find yourself this Christmas season, perhaps one of the following prayers will encourage you:
 

Father, I need to feel hope. Even though everywhere I look all I see is despair. My questions and fears are so great that I feel like I’m drowning, yet I know you offer hope. I need you to break through this darkness that surrounds me and remind me of your goodness and faithfulness, of Your plans and Your purpose for my life. Please come and fill my heart with faith again; I want to experience the thrill of hope for myself this advent in a powerful way.

 
For more advent prayers please head over to Crosswalk.com to read the full article.