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Prayer for a Holy Christmas

We come to this holy season with mixed emotions.
We want the hopefulness of the Christ event to wash over us.
We want to encounter the living presence of the one
who comes to live among us, full of grace and truth.
Yet we are troubled by the problems we see worldwide.
We see the people of Syria struggling to survive.
We see neighbors trying to rebuild their lives after severe storms.
We see communities indelibly harmed by needless gun violence.
We see hunger, poverty and disease affecting millions of people.

Still this season remains a season of hope.

It is a season to look outward to the places
where suffering needs to be alleviated,
where food needs to be delivered,
where homes need to be rebuilt,
where hope needs to be tangibly restored.

It is a season to look inward to the places
where hearts need to be softened,
where minds need to be stretched,
where plans need to be carried out,
where life needs to be given another chance.

It is a season to look upward to the God
who is sovereign over life and death,
whose heart grieves as long as any little ones suffer,
whose vision is for the well-being of shalom for all people,
whose will is that we learn the way of love.

Grant us a holy Christmas, O God.
Grant us a deepening understanding of the story of Christ’s birth.
Grant us a time to experience anew your living presence among us.

Bless all the dear children of the world with your loving care.
Renew in us the commitment to live as people of hope.
Strengthen our resolve to pursue peace with justice.
Give us trusting hearts, ready to welcome the Christ among us,
and ready to serve our neighbors
with the loving-kindness we learn from you. Amen.

Words (c) 2012 Mark Lloyd Richardson
Photo (c) 2012 Dallis Day Richardson