A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.

Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Prayers of the People: Special Delivery! ~ Christmas ~ '16 Yr A

For Saturday and Sunday, December 24th and 25th, 2016, Christmas, Year A, Readings: Christmas Eve Readings: Isaiah 9:2-7, Psalm 96, Titus 2:11-14, Luke 2:1-14 (15-20) Christmas Day Readings: Isaiah 52:7-10, Psalm 98, Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12), John 1:1-14

       The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; 
those who lived in a land of deep darkness - on them light has shined.   [Isaiah 9:2]

       How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, 
who announces salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns." [Isaiah 52:7]

photo by Christina Brennan Lee
      Sing to the Lord a new song...Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness  [Psalms 96: 1, 9a] 
       Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things. [Psalm 98:1]

      For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly. [Titus 2:11-12]

       Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways...but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. [Hebrews 1:1-3]

       In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. [Luke 2:1]

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 
He was in the beginning with God. 
All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. 
What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it...
And the Word became flesh and lived among us...full of grace and truth.
[John 1:1-5, 14]

      Life on this Earth is never without a time of darkness somewhere that is deeper than the sunless night sky. Many of us privileged to know the Merry and the Happy of Christmas firsthand have also known grief and hardship at this time of year, and troubling news reports bring so much more poignancy in the midst of this season of Glad Tidings. Yet the true Light is all around and, as we are told elsewhere in the Gospels, seek and you will find.        In the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day readings, there is ample evidence that we are to be swept up in the glory of the birth of Christ that shone all around and allow it to shine in and through us now. God's Word lives among us still and always. This Child's birth is a new birth for us all, a time, again, to throw off the curtains we have gathered around our souls, and awaken to a New Light. We, alone, cannot undo the ravages of war, hatred, loneliness, or hunger, but each of us in small and intentional ways can lighten the darkness for others and, in doing so, for ourselves. Beyond decorations and gift giving, let us each take heart, give heart, be the heart of Jesus. However trite it sounds it is nonetheless true that in a world filled with hundreds of languages, a smile translates the same in all. If a smile is all you have, give it frequently and unconditionally. If you have more, share more, equally without condition. It is time to begin anew with Christ Jesus. Meister Eckhart [13th century German theologian/mystic] said, "We are all meant to be mothers of God. God is always needing to be born."  There is no delivery more special than allowing Jesus to be born again within us. The beauty of holiness is ours, the fullness of grace and truth, if we but choose it to bring Him forth to a world never more in need than now. 


Leader:  ~ O God of Light, at last Your Child is born for us, our Messiah is come, who is Christ the Lord! Your Promise is fulfilled, Your Word is made Flesh – our Good News of Great Joy is among us!

                                                              Glory to God in the Highest
                                   RESPONSE:  Send Peace on Earth for us all

~ O God of Light, grant wisdom and the will for righteous, equitable, and truthful action to those who govern on this Earth, in our Country, and in our Community; and the courage to us to be proactive for all who are oppressed. Let us pray in earnest for those who govern in our names, especially for: add your own petitions

                                                           Glory to God in the Highest
                                                           Send Peace on Earth for us all
~ O God of Light, with Your grace of healing and hope, brighten the long shadows for the ones among us who are seriously ill, addicted, or homeless; and strengthen the hearts of all who give them care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                           Glory to God in the Highest
                                                           Send Peace on Earth for us all
~ O God of Light, may the Luminous Presence of this Precious Child pierce the deep darkness for those who walk in grief, as our precious loved ones, who have passed through this life, now live again in the magnificent glory of Your everlasting Peace. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                           Glory to God in the Highest
                                                           Send Peace on Earth for us all

~ O God of Light, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently… add your own petitions
                                                           Glory to God in the Highest
                                                           Send Peace on Earth for us all
~ O God of Light, renew the delight and wide-eyed wonder in Christ’s birth for the leaders of Your Church, our Shepherds in Your fields. Refresh us all as we go forth together, worshiping in the beauty of holiness, and singing a new song to the whole earth. We pray especially for:add your own petitions

                                                           Glory to God in the Highest
                                                           Send Peace on Earth for us all

The Celebrant adds:  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty Savior, revive our souls with the awe and elation of children for Your Holy and Momentous birth. Anoint our hearts with gladness, so that our lives reflect Your imprint in every thought, prayer, and action.  We ask through the Holy Spirit, our Spiritual Breath, and the Eternal Creator, our Reason for Being, who together with You, are our One Holy and Eternal God, forever and ever. AMEN.

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