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1st December - Children

People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, 'Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.'

Mark 10:13-14

Lord, it seems strange to describe children as marginalised, especially in the weeks up to Christmas when so much seems to concentrate on them. Yet, is it really a concentration on children? It is more about persuading them to want things so adults feel compelled to buy them. Profit, not children, is at the centre. So families run into debt. Lord, help us to spend time and attention on children, rather than wasting money.

It is still true, Lord, that children are abused, physically and sexually. They are pawns used for the pleasure of adults. We pray for all abused through assault or pornography, and pray too for the perpetrators. Help us to build a society where children are valued as people, and where they contribute to the common good.

The Rt Revd John Packer is the former Bishop of Ripon and Leeds

Daily prayer

Lord, it is easy to adore you as the baby in the manger. Help us to worship you too as the toddler and the teenager. Give us grace to see your divinity in children as they grow up and test boundaries, and lead us together to the vision of your Kingdom where aggression has no place. For your name's sake.

Amen

Lord, in this time of Advent open our hearts to those who feel excluded from Your church.
Help us draw in those on the margins and place them in the centre of our family.

Amen