THIS WEEK’S INTRODUCTION
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep . . . All for your love’s sake. Amen.
Stay awake! Be alert! Don’t fall asleep! We often hear these admonitions in the Advent scriptures. Our compline prayer, however, turns these around. We are the ones doing the requesting: God, stay awake! We need you to keep watch with those of us who cannot sleep. It’s night. It’s dark. It’s scary. We’re working the night shift to make ends meet. We’re watching for children who haven’t come home yet. Our grief and our pain are overwhelming. We need YOU to do the watching. For your love’s sake, dear Lord.
This prayer is not just for those who can’t sleep. The sleeping need to be watched over, too: Our children have had us up every night this week; please guard their sleep. Our loved ones finally have some relief from their chronic pain; please guard their sleep. We ourselves are so tired; please guard our sleep. We need strong sentries. For your love’s sake, dear Lord. Make no mistake, strong sentries will come. The angels given charge over those who sleep are fearsome guardians. In scripture, they are not chubby cherubs, but ones who stand before the throne of God and come as divine messengers. Their messages are generally prefaced with Fear not!
Our prayer for Advent begins in our needs for companionship and protection in the dark. We know comfort and hope because we pray, All for your love’s sake, dear Lord.