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A CHRISTMAS PRAYER

GOD OF JESUS CHRIST, WE MEET YOU HERE AT THE MANGER, IN AWE OF YOUR WILLINGNESS TO LIVE AMONG US. IN THE DARK OF WINTER, AGAINST A COLD LANDSCAPE, WE GATHER TONIGHT TO WATCH FOR A LIGHT—YOUR LIGHT THAT REVEALS YOU TO THE NATIONS AS THE CREATOR OF THE WORLD WHICH WE CALL HOME. WE SEE YOU AS WE LOOK IN ON THE UNLIKELY SCENE OF A BARN–A BABY BORN AT AN INCONVENIENT TIME TO AN INAUSPICIOUS COUPLE WHO CALLED ON YOU FOR THEIR STRENGTH. THANK YOU FOR JESUS. THANK YOU FOR ENTERING OUR WORLD AND SHOWING US THE WAY TO A HOLY LIFE AMIDST A CRASS CULTURE AND SELFISH WORLD.

WE PRAY FOR THOSE WHO, TONIGHT, ARE WORKING ON BEHALF OF OTHERS. WE PRAY FOR MEDICAL STAFF
WHO ARE LABORING IN OVERCROWDED HOSPITALS TO RESTORE HEALTH TO THOSE WHO ARE ILL. WE PRAY FOR POLICE AND OTHER PROTECTORS IN OUR CITIES WHO WILLINGLY WALK INTO DANGER BECAUSE OF A COMMITMENT TO THE GUARD THE COMMON GOOD. WE PRAY FOR WORKERS IN RETIREMENT FACILITIES WHO ARE WEARY FROM KEEPING A VULNERABLE POPULATION SAFE FROM A VIRUS WHILE TENDING TO THEIR SOCIAL NEEDS AS WELL. WE PRAY FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT TAKE TIME OFF BECAUSE OF THE DEMANDS PLACED ON THEM TO MAKE IMPORTANT DECISIONS THAT WILL AFFECT THE WELLBEING OF OTHERS. WE PRAY FOR THOSE WHO LABOR TONIGHT SO THAT A FEW GIFTS CAN BE UNDER THE TREE FOR THEIR CHILDREN.

AS WE GATHER TONIGHT WE LOOK BACK ON OUR YEAR WITH MIXED EMOTIONS. SOME OF US ARE AWARE OF EMPTY PLACES AROUND OUR TABLES. FOR MANY THE COVID VIRUS HAS BECOME A PERSONAL ENEMY THAT HAS TAKEN LOVED ONES AWAY AND LEFT OTHERS WEAKENED. WE HAVE EXPERIENCED SO MUCH LOSS AS A NATION AND LOOK BEYOND OUR SHORES AT A BEREAVED WORLD.

WE PRAY FOR OUR NATION. WE WONDER IF WE WILL EVER BE ABLE TO AFFIRM THAT WE ARE ONE NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE. THE RECENT YEARS HAVE BEEN MARKED WITH BITTER DISCORD AS POLITICS HAVE POLARIZED WHILE THE NEEDS OF OUR PEOPLE HAVE RISEN. GRANT WISDOM TO OUR LAWMAKERS AND MODESTY TO THOSE IN LOFTY POSITIONS. REMIND US OF OUR CALLING TO ENSURE THAT OUR TOWNS AND CITIES ARE WELCOMING PLACES FOR ALL PEOPLE, NOT JUST AN ASSUMED ELITE.

WE ACKNOWLEDGE A MELANCHOLY THAT HAS SPREAD ALONG WITH THE VIRUS, AN AWARENESS OF POWERLESSNESS THAT HAS LED TO FRUSTRATION AND
DEPRESSION. SUSTAIN US AS WE CONTINUE TO BE CAUTIOUS WITH ONE ANOTHER, AS WE WITHHOLD HUGS AND HAND SHAKES AND SIT-DOWN MEALS TOGETHER. WE PRAY FOR THOSE WHO HAVE TRAVELED THE LAST YEARS ALONE AND WHOSE LONELINESS IS CRIPPLING. ATTUNE OUR SENSES TO THE UNSPOKEN NEEDS OF THOSE WHO QUIETLY CARRY ON DESPITE CARRYING HEAVY BURDENS.

SOMETIMES THE HARDSHIP THAT STRESSES OUR DAILY CIRCUMSTANCES ALSO ROCKS OUR FAITH. WE QUESTION YOUR GOODNESS. WE GROW ANGRY THAT YOU DON’T STEP IN TO CLEAN UP OUR MESSES. WE QUIETLY DRIFT FROM YOU, FEELING AN EMPTINESS AS WE DO SO.

TONIGHT WE ARE THANKFUL THAT YOU ARE MERCIFUL AND FORGIVING. WE CANNOT BELIEVE THAT YOU INVITE US TO BE HONEST WITH YOU, AS A LOVING PARENT WOULD ENCOURAGE A CHILD. WE DISCOVER AGAIN AND AGAIN THAT WE CAN TRUST YOU. IN OUR BROKENNESS, WE BOW BEFORE YOU. WE ARE ASTOUNDED AT YOUR GRACE AND RENEWED BY YOUR FORGIVENESS. WE ARE AWED THAT YOU CALL US FAMILY. WE REST ASSURED THAT ALL WILL BE WELL BECAUSE WE ARE CITIZENS OF YOUR REALM!

POUR OUT YOUR HOLY SPIRIT AS WE REJOICE IN YOUR GIFT OF THE CHRIST CHILD IN WHOSE NAME WE CONTINUE TO GATHER. ON THIS HOLY NIGHT WE PRAISE YOU. WE WORSHIP YOUR SON, JESUS. WE COMMIT TO FOLLOW THE LEADING OF YOUR HOLY SPIRIT INTO A NEW YEAR OF BLESSING.

WE PRAY THIS IN THE POWERFUL NAME OF THE CHRIST CHILD WHOSE BIRTH WE CELEBRATE. AMEN

By preachinglife

My father was a military chaplain so I moved around quite a bit growing up. I have always gone to church! Even when we traveled we went somewhere to church. I met and married my husband, Garrett, at Chicago Theological Seminary where I earned a Masters of Divinity degree. He and I were ordained together at the First Church of Lombard, United Church of Christ in Lombard, Illinois on June 14, 1987. My first act as an ordained minister at the end of a tremendously hot ordination ceremony was to baptize my daughter, Lisa Marian! We added two sons and a daughter to the mix: James, Joseph and Maria. We have girls on either end and two boys one year apart in the middle. They range in age from 33 to almost 22. I love them!

I have been in the parish ministry for 35 years, serving at three different churches. I have joyfully served the people at the First Congregational Church of Rockford, United Church of Christ in Rockford, Michigan for 24 years.

We live on family land about 3 miles from the church. In random free moments I enjoy cooking good meals, reading, writing, gardening, traveling and spending time with my family. I am blessed!

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