Thursday, December 6, 2007

Let The Spirit Of Christmas Be In Everything

In every part of our Christmas days, joyful or otherwise, we can turn to God in prayer. These are suggested prayers for a variety of situations. Use them or create prayers from your own heart to meet your own needs.

Wrapping gifts

Dear Lord, I am tired. I sit here surrounded by ribbons and paper, gifts and tags and I struggle to feel the spirit of giving. I can barely remember which gift is for whom and at moments it all seems so far from your birth. Help me to take this moment to think of the many gifts you have given to me, the many ways your grace has blessed my life. Help me to remember that each gift is a tiny mirror of the generosity I see so clearly in your life and of the many ways you shower me with such lavish and undeserved love. Let me sit here for just a moment and feel that joy in my heart. Thank you. Thank you.

Celebrating Christmas after the loss of a loved one.

God of compassion, there is such a hole in my heart! Today should be a day of joy, but I feel only the emptiness and loss of someone so beloved. While the world celebrates around me, I remember Christmas celebrations of the past and I long to have my loved one with me. I bring my sorrows to you, Lord, like some odd gift of the magi and dump them at your feet. In my blind tears I wonder if anyone can possibly understand the depth of my sadness. Yes, you can. You sent your son to be with us in our deepest sorrows and I know that even though I might not feel it at this minute, you are here with me, grieving with me, caring for me in my sadness and loving me. Dearest lord, help me to turn to the one I miss so much today and speak. Help me heal the loss of our parting and help me not to regret the things I didn't say. Sorrow tears at my heart, but today I ask that my loss soften my heart and make me more compassionate with everyone I meet.

Prayer as I reflect on all the people you place in my life today.

I think about my family, my relatives, the neighbors, people with whom we will spend this day. Dear Jesus, as I look at their faces and remember their stories, there are feelings of gratitude and some fear and anxiety. Thank you for these loved ones and please forgive me for the ways I have been less than accepting and loving. Please heal the wounds, division and conflicts that stand between us and help me to remember how dearly you love them. I only want to remember that you have come to save us all.

Praying with my spouse in bed on Christmas morning.

Sometimes the closest person to us isn't someone with whom we share our prayer lives. On Christmas morning before the household begins to stir, we can hold our spouse close and pray together in a special way, sharing the gifts of the day ahead.

God of Love, thank you for the gift you have given us in bringing us together. On this day when we celebrate your birth, may we take another step closer to each other in intimacy. With your guidance, we want to be more loving and thoughtful, less protective and defensive around each other. May we dedicate this day to renewing our love. As we leave the warmth of this bed to begin our day, bless us with the warmth of your great love for us and help us to remember to look for the light of your love in each other.

Opening gifts

Let me just for a moment, Lord, hold this time in my heart. It is about mysteries and gratitude, unknowing and wrong sizes, snippets of ribbon and screams of delight. Help me to remember the immense love you have for each of us in this room. With each gift that is opened, no matter how perfect or not, let me feel again the many ways you gift us each day, especially with your presence in our hearts and the presence of each other in our lives.

Prayer before Christmas Dinner.

God of all gifts, we thank you for the many ways you have blessed us this day. We are grateful each of those who are gathered around this table. We ask you to bless us and our food and to bless those we love who are not with us today. In our gratitude and love, we remember your humble birth into our lives and pray for those who are are without enough to eat. We remember the stable in which you were born and pray for those who have no place to live. We remember your challenging message of caring and giving and we pray for peace in families and nations throughout the world. We bless you and give you thanks in your Spirit who brings our hearts to life the Christmas Day and forever. Amen.