Pastoral Prayer 12-27-2020

God it has been a long year. The longest perhaps. A year remembered by heartache and national grief. This year we practically ran to the manger, so desperate to get a glimpse of peace and hope, to grasp a sense of and joy and love that is reborn in us each and every year we honor the story of Jesus’ birth. And when we needed it most, you delivered. You delivered what would save us in a small and vulnerable package and placed it in a barn, in the middle of nowhere, and gave it two wide-eyed parents with the charge of keeping the tiny human alive. If you can offer us this kind of gift, your love incarnate, and give it to us in the middle of the night when no one is decorated or ready or even around to celebrate, than remind our stubborn hearts that we can accept your gift no matter how our Christmas celebrations looked, or didn’t look this year. Whether we were decorated or ready, or alone, or disenchanted, you delivered the greatest gift. You delivered the very gift that will grant us the vision and strength we need to persevere through the months to come, because while this year might be near its close, the effects of this pandemic are not. 

Today O God we move ourselves from the center of our story and join in with one another on the periphery. We join in and we look upon the scene from the Christmas story and we ask ourselves how we might be a part of the solution which you sent. As a part of that which seeks healing we pray for those whose anxiety overwhelms them; for whom a trip to the grocery store is simply more than they can handle. We pray for those who are currently suffering with COVID or those watch helplessly as their loved ones suffer. We pray for the exhausted nurses, and doctors, and healthcare workers, and people that don’t get to work from home in their sweatpants but instead show up and put on a mask for 12-hour shifts. 

We pray God for you to connect us through the birth of Jesus. For when we were called to be witnesses at the manger just 3 days ago, we were invited to step back from the center of our worries and our self, and gather on the periphery, with brothers and sisters, hand in hand, together gazing upon the shared object of our affection, the focus of our wonder, the purpose for our efforts, the foundation of our goals. We long for connection O God, and you have delivered it. Unite us in our common faith. Unite us in our common grief. Unite us in our common hope, that not matter the depth of the darkness, the light of your love can never be snuffed out. For that we are humbled. For that we are grateful. In that promise, we rest our hope. Amen.