December the 25th is just like every other day of the year, except it isn’t. It is improbable that anyone could escape the fact that it is a special day and even if we did want to avoid it altogether, it is almost impossible for us to do so. Even if we could shut our eyes and ears to the sounds and sights that come at us from every side, through the months and days that lead to this date, we would still know when woke up on the morning itself that it is Christmas day.
We all carry memories, emotions and experiences because that is how we are made. Most of us can readily recall the images and smells of childhood recollections, of great and not-so-great times. As a day when families often get together, emotional highs and lows intermingle. Joy is shared when a new face joins our gatherings, but yet the spaces left by those who are missing remain raw and real. Some of us know this day as a time filled with people, others as one when loneliness is sensed more keenly and the pain of loss hurts more. Regardless of our age or circumstances, Christmas Day is no ordinary day.
In the accounts of Jesus’ birth, we hear how ordinary lives and everyday affairs were interrupted by extraordinary events, and how the supernatural and eternal purposes of God were carried through into the commonplace and familiar, people and places of that particular time. And so at Christmas, we are reminded that there are no people or places that are outside of God’s plans and that the unremarkable and unexceptional are known and seen by him.
However you feel, whatever Christmas is to you, I hope that you may be willing to have me pray for you, as my gift to you this year. Perhaps you may wish to pray with me for the people you know, and love.
So shall we pray together:
Father God, we pray for our families, friends and neighbours this Christmas time. We know that some will be celebrating and some not, some will be working, others gathering, and some will be alone. Wherever we are, whoever we are with, and whatever we are doing, thank you Father that more than anything, this season reminds us of your desire simply to be with us. Thank you that you are a personal, and relational God and that you delight in us as a loving Father delights in being with their children.
So Father, we ask that we might sense your presence, feel your closeness, and experience your life transforming power in our lives and in the lives of those we love. And in this place of proximity with you, please fill us with the fruit of that presence; the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and goodness that flow from how you are with us. Change us from how we were, to who you have made us to be. Live within us and help us to live in you, trusting in your goodness and mercy and transformed by your grace.
Jesus; baby in a manger, our teacher, saviour and king, thank you for entering our world, for becoming just like us and for willingly sharing in our highs and lows. In the high moments this season, please lift our eyes to you, so that we may see the beauty of your face and the goodness that is in you. And in our low times, lift our spirits and console our hurting hearts.
May we, and the people we know and love, know your blessings, share your joy and experience the wholeness and peace that is available to everyone who puts their trust in you and on whom your favour rests. And, Jesus, may this day, your day, mark the moment when not only you came to be with us but, maybe for the first time or perhaps again, when we determined to walk our path through life with you, as our friend, our guide and our saviour.
Whatever it means to us, whatever we feel like today, thank you God for Christmas Day. Thank you for Jesus and for his promise never to leave us or forsake us. Thank you too that this promise is not only for our path through this life, but is also for the life to come when with Jesus we will be raised to life again to live for eternity with you.
Be blessed and be encouraged this Christmas time.