prayers of the people on Christmas Day

We give thanks for this season of celebration and remembering, when we pause to make a space for wonder in our lives; to let in a child-sized gleam of hope; to watch the stars bursting in the sky and share the communion of wine and bread and being together, the gifts of receiving and giving.

 

We hold the mystery in our hearts and give thanks for renewal and togetherness, for all that is fresh and good and loving in our lives.

 

We hold in our hearts those for whom this is a time of sadness. Our hearts go out to all who have lost loved ones this year and in the past at this time of year.

 

In this holiday season, we are grateful to shop assistants who have worked for long hours and minimum wage, so we could get out shopping done. We think of emergency services personnel, health professionals and care-givers, and those who investigate and report on tragedy: may they have courage, insight, and healing.

 

At this time of year, we can get caught up in the myth, the image of a baby as the fulfillment of hope rather than the start of a lifetime’s responsibility and care, the work of the village, not just the single parent or unstable family. So we hold all parents, all families in our hearts—the wounded and abused, the loved but uncared for, the grandparents exhausted from bringing up children when their own daughter or son is in prison or drug-dependent, mentally or physically unwell.

 

And we pray for all the world.

As we celebrate the birth of a refugee child, born in odd circumstances, of dubious parentage, let us pray for this earth and its peoples.

 

We give thanks for the angels who sing to us, the families who nurture us, the stars that guide us; wise ones, shepherds and kaumātua who show us the way.

 

We give thanks that we can put down our cares, our gifts and responsibilities, our tributes and concerns, and for this moment, we’re swaddled in love:

Love born in us this day.