A Prayer for the Christmas Season

Fourth Sunday in Advent

A Prayer for the Christmas Season
Lourdes Rendon surveys prayer shawls at the United Methodist Women Assembly in Louisville, Kentucky, April 2014.

Our loving Savior, we come to you full of thanksgiving this time of the year; the house is ready, the tree is up and all the gifts are ready. We are overwhelmed with obligations and with the busyness of this world. In the midst of all of this, we want to pray and give thanks to you and remember your creation.

In this time of the year we pray for all the mothers and all the children struggling for their lives, fighting to have a sustainable and healthy life. Help us, oh God, to see and feel their need for help. As we face this coming year, may we be enlightened to reach out to all the women and children who are suffering, who are crying, who are sick, who are dying and who do not have any means of taking care of themselves. We pray for all the single and homeless mothers who have children. We lift up to you those who are so seldom recognized in our community and in this world, and in our small ways we want to make big changes. We want to continue to make a difference in this world by recognizing the pain and hardship of those who are invisible. We continue to pray for this advocacy.

As we face this new and changing world, oh God, we pray that we may know how to be a good steward of this place that you have entrusted to us as we think about our changing climate all over the world, as sea levels rise and oceans become warmer, as longer and more intense droughts threaten crops, wildlife and freshwater. From polar bears in the Arctic to marine turtles off the coast of Africa, our planet’s diversity of life is at risk from the changing climate. We are seeing the effect of deforestation, illegal wildlife trade, oil and gas development, and infrastructures. The world is shaking and changing. Speak unto us, oh God, we are scared and we are restless as we see the effect of these changes. We ask for your guidance and peace. Help us to see how to take care of this world you have entrusted to us. As we celebrate this Christmas, may we think about this, and do something in our own small way. We pray for all the leaders who are in charge — give them the wisdom and the knowledge to plan and do things well.

People are crying out for equality and justice; dear God, hear our prayers. We pray for all the people who are experiencing the injustices of this world. We lift up all the immigrants and all the people who have experienced racial injustices. Help us see all of these injustices and make us a channel of peace, love and mercy to all. May we bring hope to this world, where all colors matter. With your beautiful creation, we are wonderfully and fearfully made by your hands, teach us how to love and understand each other. We pray for freedom of speech, where we can be free to proclaim our feelings and emotions, where no one will be tying up our hands. We lift up to you our LGBT brothers and sisters — may we love and embrace them fully, and know that they are also included in your great creation. As we pause for this Christmas season, help us to love one another, and may this set us free from this bondage of sin and continue to shine all throughout our lives.

We pray for all the poor people in this world. As we dine at our table for our Noche Buena this coming December 24, may we think of all those families who have nothing on their table to celebrate Christmas, families who have no means of buying their food because they are poor. We are lifting up to you all of the people who are living in the streets, and people who are working hard to sustain the needs of their families. We lift up all the workers who are being underpaid, people who are doing hard work but still receive a low salary. We know that there is a big gap between the rich and the poor, we pray that you give those with means the wisdom to choose and use their power for the betterment of their workers.

Help us to reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas, oh God, as we take a pause this Christmas season. Thank you for hearing our cries. Give us the strength to pray, and teach us how to care for our fellow men, and how to be good stewards of the treasures you have given to us. Our hearts are filled to overflowing with love for you and for one another. Come into our waiting hearts that we may celebrate the miraculous day of your birth, for it is in your name, we pray. Amen.

Joy Hayag is director of Children’s and Family Ministries with Christ United Methodist Church in Rockford, Ill. She transferred her deaconess relationship to the United States in April 2014 after 19 years of Christian Education work in the Philippines. Joy is a member of Roscoe United Methodist Church in the Northern Illinois Annual Conference.

Posted or updated: 12/16/2015 11:00:00 PM