Every year Christmas seems to come and go more quickly. The stores begin decorating and promoting their holiday sales in October and you would think we would all be ready for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day well in advance. Yet, most of us tell ourselves that there is plenty of time to prepare, wait till a week or two before Christmas to write and send out cards, put off our shopping as long as possible, and then squeeze out a few non-work hours to spend with family. But… in the fast paced rush from Thanksgiving through Christmas, do we take time to be still – to quietly thank God for His amazing love?
This Christmas I want to share a special gift with you. A gift that requires a sense of expectancy. A gift that only God can truly give. Yes, it involves the unspeakable gift of Emmanuel, God with us, but …it is also more (or I should say – less) than that. The gift I want to offer you today, during this busy Christmas season, is simply a prayer – a prayer for peace in our world – especially in our hearts. A still, quiet, peaceful moment of prayer. Will you allow me to lead us?
Gracious Father in Heaven,
Thank you for sending your dear holy Son to save us. We are lost and selfish beings without hope of being good enough to please you, unless you intervene and place your Spirit within us. We are weak, unfaithful, and often evil. We often do the opposite of what we know to be right. And even the good we do, we do for the praise of men or with unholy motives. Please come and live in our hearts and change us into the people you created us to be – children of the Most High God. And Lord, I ask that you draw each of us aside during this busy season – bring us to our knees before you – touch us, heal us, encourage us.
Quiet our souls and speak your Words of Life – for you are The Word of Life. We empty ourselves of selfish ambition and conceit; we lay our past, present, and future before you; and we give you (each one of us – individually) our hearts and hopes and fears. Father God give us faith, obedience, and a desire to love and serve. Make each of us hungry to know you and to follow you – even to the cross if that’s where you lead. Knowing you have gone before us, and that because you are always at our side we have nothing and no one to fear. Confidently through faith in Jesus Christ, we stand before you, asking for your direction – our “marching orders” for the new year.
And be with all those who are poor, rejected, homeless, sick, or dying. Please comfort them and give them everything they need – especially a sense of your loving presence.
We bow before you Lord Jesus. We worship you as the Holy Child born King and Messiah. We worship you and praise you for teaching us who we are, how we should live, and that we were made to live forever with You. Wrap us in your peace, teach us to be still before you, be born anew in our heart – dear Prince of Peace.
You are the One that makes all things new. I (we) come to you and wait for you to come again. Come now and fill our hearts. Come Lord Jesus and create your kingdom on Earth and in my heart. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.
Today and each day of our lives we will wait for you to come again. We need you, we miss you, we want to see your glorious face. Draw us aside into your loving presence long enough for us to hear your voice and to be filled with your light. Like candles illuminating the night, we want to shine brightly amid the stress and strain of life in this dark world.
Quiet our hearts, help us be still before you and rest… in your perfect peace. Amen.