Abba God, following the examples of the shepherds, wise men, Simeon and Anna and millions before us, we worship and adore you, giving thanks and praise.
As the turbulence that was 2016 draws to a close, we pause on the cusp of what was, what is and what is to be… There is so much uncertainty, fear, division, war, hunger, greed, tragedy, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts, fires, unexpected political wins and losses. In our media, too often lies and exaggerations play on what causes fear, tension, negativity and division. It drowns out the gentle melody of good news. It drowns out the generosity and quiet neighborliness of ordinary people all over the world; the selfless dedication and courage of so many in war zones seeking to help those in danger; those daring to stand against the mindless cruelty of abusive, hate and fear-ridden speech and actions against all those who are ‘other’ in so many ways. In fact, the good news is abundant in love in action in everyday lives.
Incarnate Christ, you are the Word, the Truth, the Life, the Light of the World. The Prince of Peace. You are Love made flesh. Challenge each one of us again to be remade in Your image, not our image of You. Discomfort us. Awaken us to new life as we start a New Year. Give us the faith, courage and trust to walk with You where You lead – often outside of our own personal comfort zones.
Except for those of the Orthodox tradition, Christmas is mostly over – although the post-Christmas sales bombard us with ‘offers’ on items we rarely need. The shepherds are returning to their flocks, the magi to their distant homes and studies. We return to work, consider new gym memberships, perhaps even make New Year resolutions. But now the real work of Christmas is beginning…. sharing the good news of your incarnate love – Immanuel – God with us. The work of bringing love to the unloved and invisible ones in society; working for peace and reconciliation between all communities and peoples; enabling each person to be valued as You value each one of us; confronting greed, bullying and lies wherever we encounter them.
As we prepare to begin the new year, we give thanks for the clear, cogent speech on the Israeli–Palestinian issues by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and pray for all leaders and people in this fulcrum of so much affecting the Middle Eastern countries, and therefore world peace. We give thanks also that the Syrian government and rebels have agreed to a nationwide ceasefire, backed by Russia and Turkey. Lighten our darkness and break down the fears and aggression running rampant in your world, Prince of Peace.
You are the God of Truth, justice, love and mercy. Not easy concepts. Not easy to live them moment by moment.
Help us, O Holy Child, Savior of the World – no exceptions.
*Note to our email subscribers: These are the real prayers for this week. Making some repairs to our website inadvertently caused our email service to send out an extra post yesterday – a post that was a conglomerate of all the posts since early October. Our apologies! We think the worst of the technology rebellion is over, and look forward to things working smoothly in the new year.