It’s hard to rejoice while knowing that so many people are dying in terrible wars which are shown daily on the news. Many others, even in peaceful and prosperous countries, are homeless, hungry and abandoned. We do not see or hear so much about them. And yet you have created us for joy and asked us to be joyful. Help those of us living in safety here to turn momentarily from the terrors and great tragedies of our time. May we always turn to you in gratitude for the daily miracles of our lives. Let us never take what we have for granted but give thanks to you in joy for all of the signs of your love.
There are so many which are granted to us each day. Thank you Lord, first of all for our precious lives. Thank you for our families, friends and for the everyday kindnesses of strangers. The cheerful chat with the check out lady at the supermarket, a smile from the postman, a kind listening ear from the doctors receptionist on the telephone, a smiling driver who waits to let you pass and waves you on. You will recall many signs, in just one day if you reflect as you lie in bed each night this week. Reflect too on the many beautiful signs in nature that day for nature is a constant giver and great source of joy even in winter. Give us joy in our hearts Lord as we prepare to welcome you this Christmas and let us share our joy with others by bringing joy to them in all the little ways we can, whatever our age or circumstances. Help us to live day by day in gratitude and joy this week! Lift up our hearts! Gaudete!
By Josephine Collins Attar, Parishioner at St Ignatius, Shaldon, who also contributed the featured image: a sunrise in Galilee.
We pray for the many moments and memories that bring joy. From seeing 1.5 million smiles from young Catholics around the world at World Youth Day to other moments spent in the presence of God.
This time of year, during Advent in the lead up to Christmas, can be so difficult for so many, so we pray that we support and love each other, so that we can all share in the true joy that is experienced by God’s presence.
By Freddy Harper-Davis, Parishioner at The Most Holy Saviour , Lynton.
God, creator of Joy!
Give us joy in our hearts, so that there may be more smiles than sadness, more optimism than pessimism in our lives. May the joy of being your child fill our hearts and radiate in our surroundings! Let our hearts sing a hymn of praise to You. God, giver of Joy, make us see how many reasons there are to be grateful to you.
Boże Twórco Radośći! Daj nam radość serca, aby więcej było w nas uśmiechu niż smutku, więcej optymizmu, niż pesymizmu w naszym życiu. Niech radość z bycia Twoim dzieckiem, przepełnia nasze serca i promieniuje w otoczeniu! Niech nasze serca śpiewają Tobie hymn uwielbienia.
Boże, dawco Radości, spraw, abyśmy dostrzegali jak wiele jest powodów do wdzięczności Tobie.
By Anna Wrobel, Parishioner and member of the Polish community in our Diocese.
Help us to keep joy at the centre of our thoughts, prayers and lives this Advent. Guide us when we are distracted by our troubled world, and remind us that joy is found through Christ and Christ alone. We embrace the fullness of joy found in your presence and share the good news of the arrival of Jesus. We pray for those who struggle to see the joy at Christmas due to financial constraints.
As Black Friday sales and pressures to buy more than is affordable abound, help them to know that true joy is not found in material things but through Christ the Lord and in cherishing joyful moments with each other. Help us strive to be like the shepherds, simply and humbly celebrating the news of the coming of Jesus and fill our hearts with the joy that this season brings.
By Daniel Teague, Teacher at Leweston School, Sherborne, and Parishioner in our Diocese.
With the joy in my heart, I want to share with others the changes we can make towards, poverty, slavery and other terrible circumstances. The world would be a better place with you here and love in our hearts for the many people who live on the earth.
God hear us now, please.
By Willow, Yr 6, Our Lady and St Patricks School Teignmouth.
Thank you for bringing joy into my life and for showing me how to find positivity in my life, words and actions. Thank you for showing us how to live.
By Lucy, Yr 4, St Nicholas school Exeter
The Christmas term ends during the third week of Advent so the build up to feelings of JOY and Gaudete Sunday is easy for most people. However, for some of our families Christmas can be a time they dread, a tense and difficult time, a time when loved ones who have died are missed the most, when they compare their possessions to those of others, when they have to accept charity, when they have been driven far from home because of war in their own country.
For many, without the comfort and confidence of faith, real JOY is hard to experience. In our Advent services Years 7 and 8 wrote their names on stones and made the stable out of their warm, welcoming selves. We lit candles of HOPE, the parent of JOY. One group wrote their names on stars reminding them to sparkle for others this Christmas.
By Fiona Hutchings, Chaplain at St Boniface Catholic College.