Monday, December 21, 2009
A Christmas Prayer
God of every nation and people,
From the beginning of Creation
You have made known your love
Through the gift of your Son
Who bears the name Emmanuel, "God with Us."
In the fullness of time the Christ-child came
To be the Good News to all humankind.
Emmanuel, God lives with us as one of us;
Christ, the Word made flesh
Has come to us as a vulnerable,
Weak and dependent babe;
A God who hungered and thirsted,
And longed for human touch and affection;
A God who chose to be born
In obscurity and shame,
To a virgin, an unwed maiden,
With a dirty stable as a home
And a borrowed manger as a bed,
In a tiny, insignificant town called Bethlehem.
Oh, Mighty God, of humble origins,
Christ, the Messiah, whom the prophets foretold,
You were born at a time, and in a place
Where few welcomed you
Or even recognized you.
Have we, too, lost a sense of joy and anticipation
In what the Christ-child may bring?
Have we been preoccupied with endless activities,
Distracted by the tinsel, decorations, and gifts—
Busy preparing for the birthday of Christ;
So busy that there's no room in our cluttered lives
To welcome Him when he comes?
God, grant us the grace to be patient and vigilant
In watching, waiting, and listening attentively.
So that we won't miss Christ
When he comes knocking at our door.
Remove whatever hinders us from receiving
The gifts which the Savior brings—
Joy, peace, justice, mercy, love ...
These are the gifts we are to share
With the downtrodden, the oppressed,
The outcasts, the weak, and the defenseless.
Christ, you are the hope of all peoples,
The wisdom who teaches and guides us,
The wonderful Counselor who encourages and consoles,
The Prince of Peace who calms our troubled minds
And restless spirits—
Granting us true inner peace.
Christ, you who are the radiant dawn,
Shine on those who live in darkness and in shadows,
Dispel fears, anxieties, and insecurities,
Restore hearts that have grown cold and distant,
Enlighten minds which have become darkened
Through greed, anger, hatred and bitterness.
We remember those who are living in shadows of a marginal existence,
We pray for the homeless, jobless and retrenched,
Those struggling to keep their lives together,
We lift up families, especially the children
Who may not experience
The joy of Christmas celebrations this season.
We pray for those living alone,
The widowed, the orphans, the elderly,
The sick and bedridden, the migrant workers
For whom the Christ-event may hold no special significance.
As happens with most festive seasons,
May it not deepen their sense of abandonment and alienation.
Christ, You who are the Light of the World,
Help us to radiate the warmth of your presence.
Enable us to give of ourselves generously and compassionately
In bringing joy, peace, and hope to others.
As we wait for the dawn
Of the coming of the Christ-child,
We do so with anticipation
Of new and unexpected challenges.
Like Mary, we sense the birth pangs of a new era,
A new kingdom waiting to be born.
May we, like Mary, be filled with courage,
Openness, and receptivity
To be the bearers of the Christ-child
In receiving and bringing forth the Good News
As we continue to be witnesses
Of God's truth and justice,
As we walk along the path of peace,
As we are strengthened in our love for Christ
And for each other.
In the words of Isaiah:
"Arise, shine, for your light has come.
The glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
Even though darkness shall cover the earth
And over its people,
Yet the LORD will be your everlasting light."
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