Ruth C. lives in Washington, DC, where she can often be found happily reading on a park bench under the shade or sharing a meal with friends. She is grateful for the opportunity to write about God’s never-ending, gracious work in our lives.
You came and entered into our humanity, light of the world, that we might have life. Jesus, you came to rescue sinners and save those who trust you. Oh Lord, even in this Christmas season two millennia later we need you. Hear us as we pray.
We pray for those whose happiness abounds and whose hearts are full in celebrating this Christmas season. You bless, you bring enjoyment, you ordain laughter and fun. May their mirth overflow, as did the shepherds’ joy, in bewildering praise at who you are and the grace that you have shown to us.
We pray for those who are exhausted from the blessings you have given—little ones, work, church, family, holiday celebrations. Their nights are certainly more raucous than silent! Even as they are sincerely thankful for these wonderful and tiring circumstance, help them to see your gifts of grace. You, Word made Flesh, bestow honor, wonder, and meaning to the ordinary moments. May that bring our hearts to worship you in the name of Christ and give thanks to the Father, in every word and deed.
We pray for those whose homes for the holidays are places of pain, bitterness, and deep hurt. Home for them is not a oasis of respite but a place rife with tension, pain, and distrust. Lord, your Son’s earthly lineage, while regal and royal, had home after home that fit this bill. But your legacy transcends mere empathy for our trials and extends to us redemption, reconciliation, and the Father’s home of safety, unity, protection, and love. May your presence bring comfort and courage, and may your power shine light, hope, and healing even now.
We pray for those who are working so that others may rest. Those in the military, medical providers, emergency responders, and more whose work makes the enjoyment of Christmas possible for others. Lord, please honor them as they exemplify your kindness that you came not to be served but to serve. May they find your rest to be a comfort for them even as they work.
We pray for those who have no home or are far from where they long to be. Perhaps they have been displaced by disaster, war, hardship, or illness. They look around and, rather than enjoying familiar, comforting sights, feel deeply alien and alone. You, Jesus, lived as a refugee in your early days on earth. You lived as the ultimate foreigner, God among humanity, and your heart is soft toward the exile and stranger. You, Creator of all things, lived without even a place to lay your head— a luxury even woodland creatures have. And yet you endured so that we might find a home with you. May you place the solitary in a home, both tangibly through your church, and eternally in the rest only you provide.
We pray for the lonely. Indeed each heart feels its own bitterness and no stranger shares its joy. You, Jesus, were despised and rejected by men, acquainted with grief and familiar with sorrow. You know loneliness more than all who have walked this earth. May your Spirit bring joy and consolation to Israel, to those who wrestle with others and with you and have overcome.
We pray for those who are wearied from another long year marred by injustice, enmity, and strife. Words and efforts and pleas feel spent. Jesus, you care to bring about justice and righteousness. Your reign has begun, even as we await your second coming where you will come as victorious king. Just as your birth was long-awaited and brought light to those who mourned in darkness, so your return will forever change the course of history. May your zeal, the passion which caused you to dwell among us, encourage our hearts to trust that you will make things right. You will make all things new.
We pray for those who feel acutely the absence of a loved one. Whether this is the first Christmas or the thirtieth being apart, there remains a longing for those whom we have once known or have wished to know. Unspeakable grief has brought separation: a prodigal far from home; a family member who has passed away; a spouse or friend who left and hasn’t been heard from since. You, Christ, knew what it was like to experience loss and absence. May your precious presence and truth bring healing and hope to those who mourn. May they find that you are kinder, truer, and lovelier than we imagine and able to redeem even the ugliest of grief and pain for beauty and glory.
We pray for those whose heart and flesh are failing. The weight of mortality in their bodies or the besetting, unrelenting despair in their minds bears upon their souls. You, Jesus, took on flesh and endured brokenness of body so that we might know you in your resurrection—life that begins when we embrace you, and that extends toward an eternity of restoration where pain and sickness cease. May your promises bring joy to the weary and hope to the mournful heart. May you be the strength of their heart and portion forever.
Lord, you know our weakness. You know that we are frail, that are frames are made of dust. Have mercy on us, we pray, through the goodness of Emmanuel, God with us.
In your name,