Saturday, December 23, 2017

A Christmas Prayer (2017)

God of Christmas, we gather together and we sing of hope.
But the world around us challenges our hope, the world around us leads us to despair.
Our news media seems to delight in telling us all the things that are going badly in the world.
The more cynical among us suggest that at best things will be as they always have been.
Bring us hope this Christmas.
Open our eyes to see the possibilities that surround us,
open our ears to hear the Good News in the stories that don’t get told,
open our minds to understand that the wold can indeed be changed,
open our mouths to share our hope for the future with all those we meet.
God made known in a baby, we pray for hope.

God of Christmas, we gather together and we sing of peace,
Peace seems such a nice idea, but far from reality.
Mass shootings, nuclear tests, political rhetoric, and more remind us of peace by its absence.
And yet we believe in the angel promise...
we long for the vision cast by Isaiah
where the wolf will lie down with the lamb and they shall not hurt or destroy on all the holy mountain...
This Christmas, we pray, move in our hearts and in the world around us;
make peace based in justice a reality in our lives.
Bring on the Reign of peace, peace founded on all having what they need for abundant live rather than on “might makes right”,
so that next time we gather to celebrate Christmas the world is a more peaceful place.
God made known in a baby, we pray for peace.

God of Christmas, we gather together and we sing of love,
In the stories of faith you command us to live as people of love:
loving God, loving our neighbour, loving ourselves.
Sometimes we act out of fear instead of love,
sometimes our love is mis-aimed and narrowed.
As we hear again the story of the birth of Love incarnate,
may our actions be loving towards all we meet, tonight and all year round.
God made known in a baby, we pray for love.

God of Christmas, we gather together and we sing of joy,
Or at least we want to, or we think we are supposed to.
For some of us joy comes easy this Christmas season.
For others joy is difficult, or distant, or just plain absent.
We give thanks that you enter our lives both in the times of joy,
and in the times of sorrow or anxiety or fear.
In this season we pray not for happiness
but for the deep joy that comes from trusting that we are not alone.
We seek the joy that comes with the assurance that you support and strengthen us every day.
God made known in a baby, we pray for joy.

God of Christmas, we gather together and we sing of birth,
We have heard the story again,
we have joined the shepherds in their fear, their wonder, and their joy.
Once again Emmanuel, God-With-Us lies sleeping in the manger.
Birth changes us, all of us.
As our eyes of faith gaze on the manger you look back at us.
As we look at the babe sleeping there, ask us about how we will help him grow,
and how he will challenge us and make us grow.
May the birth of Christ this year move us to embrace transformation.
May we be changed this Christmas as we live into being citizens of the Kingdom of God,
the Kingdom which is launched by the coming of Christ.
God of Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ and we join in the adoration of shepherds.
In response to the Good News of the birth of The Child we sing with the angels:
“Glory to God in the Highest”
Amen.

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