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A prayer for Christmas Day: Welcoming Christ with Joy

"We pray this Christmas to welcome the Prince of Peace, not just with 'Silent Night,' but with joy, to and for the world..." — Jill Duffield

Grace upon grace, God of light that cannot be overcome and life that never ends, we pray this Christmas to welcome the Prince of Peace, not just with “Silent Night,” but with joy, to and for the world. As we come and worship, we also seek to leave and serve. Make us, like Mary, God-bearers, willing to say “yes” to whatever you ask of us. Make us, like the shepherds, eager evangelists filled with praise and wonder. Make us, like Joseph, open to divine plans that are nothing like the ones we had envisioned for ourselves. Make us, like the wise men, ready to give to Christ the best that we have to offer. Use us to proclaim the Word made flesh in ways that make the incarnation evident to all creation.

As heaven and nature sing, we sing, too. We raise choruses of alleluia and in Excelsis Deo even though we know all too well that much of the earth groans under the weight of violence, exploitation and pain. Our refrains of “joy” and “peace” and “glory” are not in denial of all the evil and suffering so ever-present, but clarion calls to wake the weary and rally the righteous. Immanuel is here, dwelling among us. Justice has come to reign. The yokes of the oppressor have been broken. Our burdens have been lifted. May we hear the heavenly host, follow the star, get up, go, see the Messiah and witness the God who comes not to condemn but to save.

Wonderful counselor, light of the world, Immanuel, we come to worship. As we bow down at your manager, grant us the courage to get up, go back to our daily lives and serve only you. Make us God-bearers, evangelists, disciples, witnesses, children of God, through your grace upon grace and for the sake of your glory.

You are welcome to use this prayer in worship. If you reprint it in your bulletin, please credit Jill Duffield of the Presbyterian Outlook.