Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Prayer for 2015

God of Hope,
it is hard to be hopeful.
Our news feeds seem intent on filling us with fear and despair.
And yet when the darkness of despair threatens to win the day you respond with words of hope. “Comfort, comfort ye my people... God will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep”
Keep the vision of the Kingdom in our hearts and minds, make us into people of hope,
and help us carry hope into those shadowed places of the world where despair seems to be winning.
And so we hold in out hearts those who need hope in their lives
...time of silence...

God of Peace,
Mass shootings, ISIS offensives and refugees, armed robberies and murders in our city, more and more people struggling to hold the chequebook in the black.
So many things this year make peace seem like a dream, a faint possibility, a wish made on a falling star.
We yearn for peace, we desperately need signs of peace, even as we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace.
Move in our hearts, gracious God, fill us to overflowing with Christ's peace, that we would be able to share that peace with everyone we meet.
With expectant hearts, we look forward to that day when peace is more than just a word, when the wolf will lie down with the lamb and they will not hurt or destroy on all the holy mountain.
...time of silence...

God of Love,
All we need is love, so the song tells us.
Love is the great commandment, the power that keeps us growing.
In love you break into our world, coming to live among us as one of us.
In love you challenge us to live love with each other: family and stranger, friend and enemy.
This Christmas season, in a world which tries to make us afraid, remind us that love casts out and defeats fear, remind us not to be afraid.
And so fill our very beings with love that it spills onto everyone in our lives.
May love be the keystone, the guiding principle, of our lives, at Christmas and all the year through.
As we hold in our hearts those we love, and all those around the world who are hungry for love
...time of silence...

God of Joy,
in sanctuaries and living rooms and village squares around the globe people are singing songs of joy.
We have heard and shared the Good News of Great Joy for all the people.
Joy to the world! The Lord is come!
And yet...
in every corner of the globe tonight there are people who find joy a distant, uncommon visitor.
People struggle for life's needs, people sit with loved ones lying in sickbeds, people live in places many of us would not be caught dead, people gather in the midst of Christmas celebrations to say farewell to a loved one, people sit alone far from family and friends.
We know the life is not always what it could be. And yet we trust that all will be well some day.
On this night, on every night, we pray with and for all those who struggle
may they know that they are not alone, may they hear the word of promise and joy and love
...time of silence...

God of Birth,
once again we hear the angel announcing:
“for unto you is born this day in the city of David a saviour who is Christ the Lord”
Once again we hear the angel chorus:
“Glory to God in the Highest and on Earth Peace”
And so we celebrate a baby born long ago. We celebrate births that happen today:
Hope born in the middle of bad news and despair.
Peace born in a world of violence and struggle and disparity.
Love born in a world of fear.
Joy born in the hearts of the broken-hearted.
For everything that is born in our midst tonight we sing songs and mutter prayers of praise and thanksgiving.
...time of silence...
These things we pray in the name of Jesus, the Babe in the manger, Emmanuel, God-With-Us

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