This is my Christmas Prayer for 2013
Dear Lord God, as we near the blessed day when we remember the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord, there are many things to seek your guidance and protection about. First, I pray for all those people who are traveling–that you would guide them safely to their destination and then safely home again. Just as you guided Mary and Joseph and the unborn Christ in their journeys so long ago, so too protect people in cars, trains, and airplanes. I likewise intercede for those who serve the public good: Teachers, nurses, doctors, EMT’s, first responders, police, air traffic controllers, and so many more than I could ever name. Grant these sacrificial souls a blessed and joyful Christmas.
I also pray, Lord, for families as they gather together. Many people will be missing loved ones who are dead–recent deaths or the stinging pain of death that remains our whole lives. For these I ask that you comfort and bring the kind of peace that is beyond description and beyond understanding. Sometimes these family gatherings can be tense, so I ask that peace be made between moms and dads, parents and children, brothers and sisters, as well as in-laws and cousins. Where there is strife, Holy Spirit, please pave the way for reconciliation during this season of reconciliation.
I pray for those who this year will be displaced for one reason or another. Many people are homeless, and will have a warm bed and decent meal only because of the generosity of someone else, and I pray that generosity abound. I ask that you help these individuals to improve their situation, to work, earn money, and provide for themselves so that next year they will be providing for themselves or even helping others. Many of these displaced are children–and I ask that these children be well fed and cared for, and that their future be brighter than their present. Many people are sick from illness or disease, and some even may have a faint awareness this is their last Christmas in this lifetime. I ask for healing, well being, and joy for these.
Our world is mired in troubles, Lord. We are far from beating any swords into plowshares. Instead, conflict seems to be everywhere. I pray that in far away places like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Israel, Sudan, China, the Koreas and many other places Lord that there be peacemakers who will bravely insist that war and battles are futile. In the meantime, Father, our land has many of our finest men and women deployed around globe seeking to preserve liberty and security and I thank you for them and their service. I ask that this Christmas, that even though they are far away, they feel not only your presence, but the deepest and warmest sentiment from their loved ones at home.
Finally, father, I pray for the church at Christmas. So often we lose sight of the meaning as we work ourselves into frenzies with pageants, programs, services and service that we forget the simplicity and profound beauty of what Christmas is and means. We are smart enough to know Lord, that you were not really born on December 25 and that all the images we sanitize about your birthday are idealized, but we do believe you were born, of a virgin, in the line of David, in a lonely barn surrounded by elements of your own creation for the purpose of bringing redemption to the world. In the same way we celebrate that by the power of your Holy Spirit, each day we are born again anew into the world as your body to serve every element of your creation.
In the name of the Son Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.