Monday, December 24, 2012

A Christmas Prayer

God of Hope
We live in a world that all too often gives us reason to despair. And yet You offer us the promise of hope. In a world where so many struggle to get enough to live on, where it seems impossible to move forward against the force pushing us backwards, where it is so hard to see that things will get better, You offer us the promise of the Kingdom of God. This Christmas season, rekindle the fire of hope in our hearts. Reawaken in us a vision of the possibilities the world holds. Make us into hope-bearers, carrying Your Hope to places where despair seems to be winning.

God of Peace
So often Peace is just a word, a word whose meaning has been lost. Certainly it hardly seems a word that describes a world where children are shot at school, or firefighters shot responding to a fire, or marketplaces are blown apart by bombs, or enough money is spent annually on military expenses to feed the globe for decades, or so many other things that shatter the peace of which the angels sang. Tonight we celebrate the birth of the One we call the Prince of Peace. Tonight we listen again for the song of angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold. May we hear the siren call of Peace in our world. May we become makers of peace, in ways big and small, wherever we go. And may the Peace of Christ become not just a greeting we share in worship, but a reality in the world at large.

God of Joy
Churches and houses around the globe this night ring out with the sounds of Joy. “Joy to the World! The Lord is come” we sing. And yet joy is far from the minds of many this Christmas season. We hold in our hearts all those who are alone this night, and those who have an empty space at the table this Christmas, and those who find themselves in or beside a hospital bed. Sometimes Christmas is not what we want it to be. And the Joy seems to be lost. May all those who struggle to find joy in their lives know that they are not alone tonight. May they hear the word of promise that the baby is born for them, that in the midst of their struggles there is a promise that in the long term all will be well, all manner of thing will be well.

God of Love
That is the core of our lives isn't it. Love. That is what keeps us going, that we are loved and that we love others. In the end that is what it is all about. In love You continue to break into our world, into our lives. This Christmas season, and throughout the year that is to come, fill our hearts to overflowing with love. And may we, having experienced Your boundless, unlimited, passionate love, pass it on to all we meet. May love become the watchword and guidepost of our lives and the lives of all Your children.

God of Birth
Tonight we gather to celebrate a birth that happened long ago, the birth of a child laid in a manger because there was no place for his family in the inn. But tonight we also celebrate births that happen everyday. We sing praises for hope born anew in the midst of despair. We watch as peace is born in the middle of violence and struggle and disparity. We listen as joy is born afresh in the broken-hearted. We are overcome with emotion as love is born time and time again, overcoming fear and distrust and hatred. For all the births we celebrate this night we offer songs of thanksgiving and praise.

These things we pray in the name of the baby who now lies in the manger, the child who later taught his friends to pray together saying:
Our Father, who art in heaven…

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