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 19, 2016

Pastoral Prayer (December 18) - Athens First UMC

[Our Holy Hands Puppeteer ministry provided a Christmas skit, "All are Welcome" at both of our Sunday worship services that reminded us to reclaim the true meaning of Christmas which is to help others. Here are the people who were behind the puppets.]

O God, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Gifts have been donated to needy families. Hot chocolate and donuts have been handed out to college students. Meals were prepared for students during finals week. Our Growing Tree pre-school children had their Christmas concert. And money is pouring in through our special Christmas missions offering to help build a house for a family in need. O God, it truly is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Thank you for the many ways that our church is seeking to reclaim the true meaning of Christmas this year by shining Christmas light, sharing Christmas love, singing Christmas joy, and offering Christmas hope.

Loving God, we especially pray for those who will be attending our Blue Christmas services this Tuesday. May that service be a blessing to those who may be feeling blue during this holiday season. May it be a way for them to express their deepest longings to you as we join Mary, the mother of Jesus in pondering and treasuring the true meaning of this holy time of year. Thank you for our Stephen Ministers who will be assisting in those services.

As we near the wonder of Jesus’ birth, we can also feel the wonder of new possibilities for our church. We can’t wait to see what a difference our building improvements will make for people who have accessibility needs, for more people who will be able to enjoy fellowship time with an expanded narthex, and the beautiful new look of our sanctuary.

And even beyond these bricks and mortar improvements to our church, O God, we are so excited to see how you will help us to continue to grow our congregation through our small group ministry, our Core Courses, our Athens First Saturday outreach ministries, and a renewed focus on hospitality so that everyone who comes to our church will feel even more welcomed and part of our church family.

May this Christmas be a time when your love is born anew through each of our lives and through the life of our congregation. We pray this in the name of Christ who is our hope and who taught us to pray together saying…

Our Father, who art in heaven…

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