Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People December 24, 2017 - Christmas Eve

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We have gathered this night, God, in expectation. We have come under starlight, to anticipate the uniqueness of the birth that set in motion centuries of celebration. We have heard the ancient stories spoken again, the ancient harmonies raised; their promises renewed, for us and our lives.

We know our need of those promises, God. For like generations before us, we live in a world that fears the desperate acts of terrorists, that struggles with too much poverty, that reels with violence, that endures illness and anger, loneliness and longing, guilt, and sorrow. We have come together in recognition of our needs, and with the prayer that all our hopes and all our fears will be met in your loving embrace this night.

And you have come. This night, God, is most hallow’d among all nights, for it is the night when humanity and divinity intertwine in the birth of your Son, Jesus. We stand amazed that the age-old prophecies are realized in ways we never imagined. You’ve come to us in humility and the simple grandeur of a baby. We welcome the fresh new life born into our midst. We welcome the hope sprung up among us. We receive you tenderly tonight. You show us just how powerful, how enduring, how profound, innocent love can be.

Now, washed in the gentle glow of candles, lighted in honor of your coming, Christ, let us recognize that yours is the only light we hold against the darkness of the night. Let us take your light from here tonight and live by its glow in every succeeding moment. Show us that your light shines more truly and surely to guide us, than the flash and gleam of brighter lights. Let your light sustain us in all our moments of darkness and doubt. We have work to do, until through us, your light shines out to brighten all the world that you so dearly love.

This night is most hallow’d among all nights. We give you thanks and praise, God, for unto us this night, a child is born. Amen.

By Dr. Rev. Casey Baggott

Prayers of the People December 24, 2017 - Morning

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Based on Luke 2:15-20

Eternal, astonishing God, what language shall we use to express the wonder of this season? We struggle to tell the extraordinary story of your birth among us, your walk among us, your place in our very midst, and in our own human form. Words seem to lack the grandeur needed to convey this story of grace and truth and so we tell it as best we can, over and over again, in glad songs, in shared dreams, in hands held, and visits made, in Christmas meals, in gifts given, and even in the offerings we bring here today, Lord. Let the Good News ring out among us in a thousand ways –bearing witness to our conviction that the story is ever fresh, ever true, ever needed to soothe the weary world.

Be with those this bright day, dear God, who struggle. Some struggles are of the body: illness, pain, weakness. We know that as you have made us, fearfully and wonderfully, so you might now lend a healing hand to those whose bodies need it. And some who struggle this day face struggles of the spirit: loneliness, regret, hopelessness, anger, bitterness, or sorrow. May the dawn of this day bring fresh beginnings to all those who wrestle with these things. May the promise of the Christ child’s birth outweigh every old remnant of anguish and offer to all in need of it, the healing assurance of your grace.

So many people and places across the face of the earth do need the Spirit of your Son today, God: from boardrooms to playgrounds, hospital wards to refugee tents. We pray that here and everywhere, with the coming of Christmas, a reign of hope, justice, peace, and righteousness may begin.

Let us be able ambassadors of Christ’s goodness to our world. Let us work willingly, offering our best for the Prince of Peace, until tyranny and terrorism are no longer threats, until power and might are ever tempered with love, until our lives tell the old, astonishing story as clearly as once the angel voices, shepherds’ calls, stable animals, wandering kings, and guiding stars did.

Hear our prayer today, God, offered with Christmas wonderment, and concluded with Christ’s own words, as we say together his prayer … The Lord’s Prayer.