Emmanuel, Come to Us! A Prayer for our World at Christmas

sunsetO God of wondrous grace and holy love, we give you thanks and praise that you entered into our world to share our messy humanity. In this holy season we are quick to speak and sing of your majesty, mystery, glory and might. Yet this season reminds us that you are not a distant God, but come close to us in Jesus Christ, your Word made flesh. He is Emmanuel, God with us, and in and through him you are with us in all the comings and goings, the beings and doings, of our days.

And so we pray, God with us, for the world you so love, especially in a world where hate and war still thrive each day, where the news is as current as Twitter and as old as Herod and Caesar. We pray for peace, that despots may be brought down and power used aright for the cause of justice and righteousness; that the innocent may be protected and relieved.

Emmanuel, come to us!

We pray, God with us, for our government. We look at Washington and ponder the incongruity of  such political turmoil during this season when we celebrate you as wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, prince of peace. Too often we see the meanest and smallest prevailing over the wisest and best. Too often partisan politics obscure the common good, and political expediency and cynicism rule the day. As we begin a new chapter in our national life, let us seek the things that make for peace and justice. Let your church always be a voice against hate and fear, and give us the courage to stand up for the voiceless and those who have no helper.

Emmanuel, come to us!

We pray, God with us, for our own lives, for you are with them too. Come to us in our homes and at our jobs and in our schools. Come to us in our struggles as well as in our victories, in our mistakes as well as in our successes. Come to us not only in our praying and our serving, but in our loving and living and dying.

Emmanuel, come to us!

We pray, God with us, for all your suffering children everywhere. May you be with them that they may know you as the friend of the friendless, the healer of the sick, and the light of the dying. Our prayer lists seem to grow each day. We pray  for children everywhere caught up in the ravages of war. Our world is a broken world, and we cannot fix it by ourselves. But help us to live in such a way that compassion and love outstrip our human tendency towards fear and violence.

Emmanuel, come to us!

We live between the times, O God. We recall before you with thanks the great multitude of the faithful who have come before us, inspired and challenged us in their time. May their example help us to face the challenges of our time with courage and faith.

Emmanuel, come to us! Amen.

(This is based on a prayer of mine from Christmas in 2000, with a few changes. Photo: R. L. Floyd, 2015)

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