Emmanuel, be with us: A Christmas Day prayer

A prayer that seeks God-with-us.

On this Christmas so different from what we are used to, Emmanuel, God be with us.

Be with those who long to fill the pews to hear the story of Christ’s birth, to sing “Silent Night” and light candles to shine God’s light through all the church and into the world. Be with us as we gather at the manger in a different way. Emmanuel, be with us.

Be with those who will spend this Christmas alone, with those who work helping the sick through the night, with young adults far from their families, with those who cannot gather with their children and grandchildren, brothers and sisters, or their families of choice because the risks are too great. Emmanuel, be with us.

Be with those who have lost loved ones this year, because of the pandemic or in other ways, who were not able to visit at the hospital or the nursing home; who didn’t have the funeral or even the chance to hug one another. Be with those who have lost their jobs, their homes, their beloved pets, their plans for school and travel and life, their sense of connection. Emmanuel, be with us.

Thank you for the gifts this year has brought — for babies born; for kindnesses shown; for the courage and dedication of frontline workers; for pots of soup; for technology; for quiet walks; for phone calls and letters. Thank you for all those who have helped congregations be church in new ways. Thank you for those who fight for the least and to protect our planet. Emmanuel, we give thanks.

On this Christmas so different from the others, Emmanuel be with us. Let us hear the good news, bear one another’s pain, be light for one another. Let us feel love that transcends distance. Emmanuel, be with us. Amen.