Opening Prayer for Christmas Eve Service

Written by Rev. Allen V. Harris

Offered on December 24, 2011 by Jada Eccleston

 

Photo by Xena Lowther

O Gracious Gift-Giving God,

Christmas is a season of gifts.  Some gifts are tangible and can be wrapped with beautiful paper and sealed with decorative bows.  Other gifts are more elusive and can only be perceived by the mind and the heart.  In either case, we give thanks for gifts and the joy they bring.

We gather tonight quite aware of the power of gifts hoped for, gifts given, and gifts received.  But we are also painfully aware of gifts withheld, gifts too expensive, and gifts left unopened.

We pray tonight, O God, through this season and through this service that we might more fully appreciate the gifts that you give us.

  • We thank you for gifts of family, both family by birth and family by choice.
  • We thank you for gifts of friends, some near and dear, some dear but far away, and many friends who form a vast network of interconnectedness and care.
  • We thank you for gifts of the institutions and organizations that make our lives better because we are associated with them: our workplaces, our schools, our hospitals, our civic and social institutions; and, of course, our churches and other places of worship.

We know that not all are blessed with such gifts, or at least ones that are strong and vibrant, but we give you thanks for the gift they are nonetheless.

And finally, O Divine Giver of All Good Gifts, we thank you for the gift of grace that we know as Jesus Christ, for in him we find all other gifts come to their fullness.  May we, tonight, remember to “open up” yet again this ancient yet ever new gift so that more and more of your people might find their greatest delight in You, O God.

In this spirit we pray.

Amen.

 

Community Prayers For Christmas Eve

 Written by Rev. Allen V. Harris

Offered on December 24, 2011 by Richard Hinkelman

 

Photo by Xena Lowther

O God,

One of the greatest gifts you give us is also one of the greatest privileges, and that is the gift of prayer.  On this most holy of nights, we offer our prayers for the people and circumstances of our world.  We do so not in hopes of somehow influencing you, but in hopes that we will be changed ourselves.

  • We pray for those who are feeling especially lost and lonely during this sacred season; and we give thanks for those who have been found.
  • We pray for those who are hurting, whether they are aches of the body or heartaches; and we give thanks for those who have been healed.
  • We pray for those who are anxious or afraid, for those whose losses are great; and we give thanks for those who have been given comfort.
  • We pray for those who are at war, whether it be in conflicts on the other side of the globe, in their neighborhoods, or in their hearts; and we give thanks for those who have found peace.
  • We pray for those who cannot bear to hope again; and we give thanks for those whose greatest hopes have been realized.

And finally, O God, we pray for those who do not have enough in this life, whether it be of basic necessities like food, clothes, shelter, health care or who simply lack love; and we offer our most heartfelt thanksgiving for those who do, indeed, have enough and understand the power of giving from their abundance to others so that all of your children may know what it means to have and be enough.

Therefore, in the name of the Gift born this night and every time a gift of the heart is given, Jesus Christ, we pray.  Amen.

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