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

Monday, December 21, 2015

Pastoral Prayer (December 20) - Athens First UMC

O God, you point us to the coming of the Christ Child through a variety of ways, like through an entertaining puppet skit, an inspiring cantata, a fun pre-school Christmas program, and through the ringing of church bells. How can we miss you with all of these signs pointing us toward a manger in Bethlehem?

With only a few days left before the Christmas season, we want to keep moving toward Bethlehem so that we can celebrate the wondrous birth of Christ. As we journey to Christmas, remind us to invite our friends and neighbors to come along with us so we can all celebrate your gift of salvation for the world.

Lord, some of us are carrying heavy burdens during this time of year. Some have heavy hearts because of grief and sadness. For some, this Christmas will feel really different this year, because of the loss of a loved one or a friend who won’t be able to celebrate with us.

No matter what heaviness we may feel at this time of year, help us to remember the words of that wonderful Christmas carol, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” Thank you for providing space at the manger for those who want to join the happy shepherds and sing “Joy to the World” but also for those who want to join Mary and softly sing, “Silent Night.” All are welcome around your manger, and we are thankful.

Even now, we offer you our silent joys and concerns for ourselves, for those we love and for our community and world. Hear our silent prayers during these next few moments.

Perhaps the greatest Christmas present we can receive is the gift in knowing that we can pray to you at any time and in any place, and you promise to hear us, comfort us, and lead us into the way we should go. As a people of prayer, teach us now to pray these words, knowing that you will hear us and offer us what we need in this very moment.

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

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