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A Christmas Prayer

by | Dec 18, 2018 | West District Web Page, West District Newsletter

The countdown is on. It is exactly one week until Christmas as I write these words. It is a frenzied time for pastors, church staffs, and volunteers in the church.

Pastors are working on their Sunday sermons along with their Christmas Eve sermons. In the back of their minds is that the Christmas Eve sermon has to be one of their best because the church will have many people who only come on Christmas Eve. It is a nagging pressure along with the usual nervousness of preaching. Pastors, it is a busy time, it is also a time God can use you as an instrument of grace to the many visitors and guests along with your congregation. Breathe deeply the Spirit that is with you who will breathe God’s purposes into your words.

Church staffs are busy creating and printing bulletins and presentations for the extra services, making last minute arrangements and just doing whatever they can to make Christmas Eve special. Please be kind and patient with your church’s staff this week. If there is business that can be done after Christmas, please hold it until then.

And our church volunteers and leaders – God bless them. They are busy this week cleaning things up for all those who are coming, preparing sanctuaries for the beauty and wonder of Christmas. Volunteers are getting ready to do the many roles that are an integral part of our worship and ministry – greeting, ushering, leading liturgy, singing, playing instruments, running sound and presentations, setting up hospitality, preparing for the children who will come for pageants and worship, and the hundreds of tasks volunteers do to prepare for the Christmas celebrations. Thank you for your efforts that convey the joy of this season and lead those who come to worship to experience again the wonder of Christmas.

Just as a family busily prepares for the arrival of a new baby, our churches are preparing for the celebration of God’s gift in the form of a baby. As you go through the frenzied time this week, remember that your efforts help retell the story of God’s love for all people made tangible in the flesh and blood of Jesus, Emmanuel (God with us). Your efforts are truly a Christmas gift to all who will gather in just under a week. I hold you in my heart and in prayer this week. And here is the prayer I offer for you today:

“O God, whose love blesses and unites us in this place and time, we come before you with hearts gladdened by this holy season, its lights, its colors, and, most especially, its message of peace and good will to all.

 

 In the birth of Jesus, you have given our weary and struggling world reason to rejoice. In the cry of an infant, you have given hope to all who cry. By the light of a star, you have given us the light of the world.

 

 We thank you, good and generous God, that in Jesus the Christ, you have made yourself known and have beckoned us to join you in the continual creation of a world where peace exists through righteousness and justice, mercy, and love.

 

 Create in us, O God, hearts devoted to shaping that world and bless especially those for whom such a world seems only a distant dream. Open our hearts, Spirit of Life, to the news of angels and the wonder of shepherds that these days may renew us for the days to come.

 

 Grant us, for the sake of Christ’s ministry, hearts that may discern how to make meaningful the gospel which we cherish. Grant, to your glory, that those whose lives we touch may hear in our words and see in our lives that truly you are merciful and gracious and abounding in steadfast love! I pray this in the name of the One whom we celebrate, your first Christmas gift, Jesus. Amen.”

Merry Christmas,

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