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Christmas Prayer

            It is almost Christmas, O God, and many of us are worse for wear because of it.  How did we let it get so frenzied and busy, with

            expectations that are almost impossible to meet,

            endless lists that cause us to long for some peace, and

            raw nerve endings that stir up hurt feelings or arguments

            with the very people for whom we care the most.

            How did the simple, unpretentious birth of Jesus in a cattle stall near a tenth-rate little town in the Middle East grow into such a frantic, exhausting, and budget-busting occasion as the one we celebrate this week?  We pray, O God, that we shall not lose the real meaning of Christmas under all this blanket of cultural traditions and fevered preparations. 

  • Give us some quiet moments when we commune with you to say thank you for the true and best spirit of the season.
  • Help us to pause at our desks, over the cook top, while chilling out with friends or in the traffic at the mall to have a sense of your rich and abiding presence that we might not have ever known if Jesus had not been born all those years ago.

            Our hearts burn and we pray for children who have no toys under the tree... whose families are too poor even to have a tree and if they had a tree, they couldn’t afford a stand or lights.  We pray for children around the world who have not enough food this day and their tummies are growling and their parents are sad because they’ve tried everything and there is nothing left to do... and for parents who are behind in the rent and next month’s coming fast.  May they receive your GIFT of joy.

            And we pray for children who are surrounded by mountains of expensive talking,  buzzing and static-cy plastic toys.  May they have the childlike innocence to know that true joy comes from something else... not stuff.  May their affluence not be a detriment that causes them to value meaningless or materialistic goals, but may they grow to know they are blessed... and that their highest values could be to serve, to help, to care, and to give.  May they receive YOUR gift of joy.

            We pray this day

                        for those whose Christmas is missing someone...

                        for those whose Christmas finds a loved-one far away...

                        for those whose joy has been deflated by something that happened...

                        May they RECEIVE your gift of joy.

            And now, in moments of quiet...

                        When you get up tomorrow, May YOU receive God’s gift of joy.  Amen.