The coronavirus crisis is a deeply shaking experience for us all. Old certainties are replaced with temporary and fragile solutions, and anxiety rises over health, employment and finances.

Frustration is building as we slowly contemplate a Christmas, perhaps without loved ones and well-worn traditions. We hear the science and the logic and tell ourselves that needs must; however, we can’t hide forever the emotions this crisis is bringing out in us. Frustration can build to anger and fear can lead to desolation, but probably the most dangerous reaction is to ignore the emotion and simply burry it deep within us. That well-trodden path is the way to depression and deeper distress. 

So how do we walk this journey with Christ, being true to ourselves, processing the emotions and responding to the context? The Bible has an ancient practice that is made for such situations: lament. Lament expresses our frustration, fears, anger and disappointment to God in prayer. 

So we join with the psalmist and cry out in troubled times, being honest and direct, complaining and railing against the situation. To lament is to ask questions even of God, to shout out, to shake with frustration – and then to pray, to intercede for others, for our places, for family and ourselves. 

The advent carol O Come, O Come, Emmanuel is a lament towards God, a gutsy cry in the face of overwhelming odds. The third verse is especially relevant to the coronavirus: 

O Come, Thou Dayspring, from on high,
And cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And deaths dark shadow put to flight.”

To help us practise this ancient spiritual discipline of lament, a new resource has been developed by Movement Day UK and Bible Society. This resource, using the advent carol O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, is created to help us all lament, reflect and pray during this time of crisis. 

Four creative Advent prayer encounters are being released alongside a series of daily short advent prayers, crying out to God to come and restore, comfort, heal and transform the places we live in and the people we care about. 

  • Every Sunday of Advent, early morning from Sunday, 29 November, an eight-minute video will be released.
  • Each day of Advent, a shorter prayer video by people from all spheres of life, crying out for hope peace, love and joy over our towns and cities this Christmastime, will be released. 

These all can be used for personal prayer, church services and small groups, as well as shared with your friends and neighbours. We hope that this powerful resource will not only appeal to Christians but also those on the fringe of faith and church. 

For more information please contact Roger Sutton, director of GATHER and Movement Day UK at rogersutton@​live.​com or 07847 28883.

Fred Drummond, director for prayer and Scotland, Evangelical Alliance, has written some helpful resources to help us express our lament. 

The Bible has an ancient practice that is made for such situations: lament.