“For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
– Romans 8:38-39
“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’”
– Matthew 1:18-21
In this time of birth we pray for life.
We pray for people, not for buildings.
We pray for faith in Jesus, not for faith in institutions.
We pray for miracles.
We move with hope.
In the midst of the Nations, we move with hope.
To Afghanistan and Iraq, we move with hope.
In the Balkans and past biological weapons, we move with hope.
Standing with child soldiers in Uganda, we move with hope.
Along the horn of Africa and war-torn Sudan, we move with hope.
In the house churches of China, we move with hope.
With all Indigenous Peoples, we move with hope.
Past the Atom Bomb, we move with hope.
In the chambers of the International Criminal Court, we move with hope.
Between the seats of the Security Council, we move with hope.
Over the ledgers of the World Bank, we move with hope.
In Palestine and in Israel, we move with hope.
Amidst militias in Colombia, we move with hope.
With the homeless of Haiti, we move with hope.
Through the cluster bombs dropped on Lebanon, we move with hope.
Between Ethiopia and Somalia, we move with hope.
On the convoys of the World Food Program, we move with hope.
Among refugee tents in Chad, we move with hope.
With those who have been raped in Congo, we move with hope.
Facing climate change, we move with hope.
Dismayed, overwhelmed, afraid, we move with hope.
We pray, Come Lord Jesus!
Come and fill our hearts with your peace
As we witness that grace still abides on this earth,
And proclaim the miracle
That even in this broken world,
Miracles are possible,
And born out of deep hope.
In Jesus’ name we pray.
— Joel Hanisek, Presbyterian United Nations Representative
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on who His favor rests.’”
– Luke 2:8-14
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.”
– Micah 5:2-3
As we prepare for Christmas, how about saying this prayer?
“Teach us to love, O Lord. May we always remember to put you first as we follow Christ’s footsteps, that we may know your love and show it in our lives. As we prepare for our celebration of Jesus’ birth, also fill our hearts with love for the world, that all may know your love and the one whom you have sent, your son, our savior. Amen.”
Well, if your household is like mine this week the kids are out of school and everyone is gearing up for Christmas. As you go about your day, let’s try something simple: everytime someone says “Happy Holidays” how about replying back with “Merry Christmas!” After all, aren’t we celebrating the birth of Christ?