Gracious God, from the words of your prophets, we hear your commandment to the nations to lay down the weapons of war, cease their acts of aggression, and become warriors of peace and executors of justice. Yet this Advent, the sky darkens, and the mountains shake – in South Sudan and Somalia, in Ukraine, in Israel and Gaza. We pray for all who have been victims of aggression and injustice this year, especially the people of Armenia, and we beseech all those in authority to cease their acts of violence and vengeance and to remember the Prince of Peace, born at Bethlehem to save the world, who will come again in glory and great power to judge the nations. And Lord, we who judge the nations and their leaders ourselves, Holy One, make us instruments of your peace and mediators of your grace close to home – in our families, workplaces, schools, and churches – so that everyone will know who you are by seeing the peaceable, loving, and just way we followers of the Prince of Peace ourselves behave. We pray all this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

— My prayer at last night’s seventh annual ecumenical prayer service, hosted by Archbishop Hovnan Derderianian of the Apostolic Armenian Orthodox Church at St. Leon’s Cathedral in Burbank.