A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Pastoral Prayer (Christmas Eve) - Athens First UMC

O God, it always seems like a long wait to finally arrive to the manger and worship the Christ Child. We can only take so many Hallmark Christmas specials, Christmas movies, and TV specials.

There comes a time when we need the real thing. We need you! We need to be in this beautiful church tonight because you have given us the greatest gift we can ever receive, Jesus Christ.

The candles, the poinsettias, the decorations, the music, all help us to receive hope, peace, joy, and love symbolized by the candles around our Advent Wreath. These are gifts that we can open throughout the year, long after our other gifts are opened on Christmas morning, broken, or even forgotten. Thank you for the gift of Christ who is our Emmanuel, “God with us!”

O God, we lift up those who are in special need of you this night as they face struggles and challenges in their daily lives. We pray for the homeless, the broken-hearted, those with illnesses and medical challenges, and those who are facing difficult decisions.

Surround each one of us with the good news of Christ’s birth, just as a great company of angels surrounded the shepherds when they were out in the fields watching their flocks by night. Thank you, that all of us are invited to come home for Christmas. Thank you, that all of us are welcome around the manger of the Christ Child. Nobody is left out.

After the last candle is blown out from tonight’s service, remind us that the light of Christ will always shine brightly as we seek to follow Him. May tonight be a new beginning for us as we allow the light of Christ to shine in our lives through our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness.

Whenever we feel alone, remind us of this holy night when we gathered here to welcome the light of Christ into the world. Don’t let us forget, O God! Don’t let us forget!

And help our church to not forget to shine your light in all that we do and say. May our church be like a lighted candle that always shines brightly right here in the heart of this university community. Shine your light through us, even as we leave from here tonight. In the name of the light of the world, Jesus Christ, we offer this prayer. Amen.

No comments: