You, rushing in the frantic panic days before Christmas, scratching final gifts off your gift-giving list,
May the church provide quiet, calm, and respite.
You, lovingly carting your children to and from activity after activity, baking cookies for event after event, leaning over final before-Christmas homework assignments, painting the winter calendar with tournaments, games, concerts and practices,
May the church give you space to catch your breath, receive energy and strength, and know your hard work as a parent is appreciated and valued.
You, avoiding the vacant space where the Christmas tree usually stands because the one you’ve shared it with is gone,
May the church surround you, allow you to be yourself, and proclaim God’s eternal promises.
You, holding deserved jealousy in your heart for Mary’s full pregnancy, healthy birth and living child squirming in her arms,
May the church be a place where others sit beside you, their own empty arms encircling you with peace and understanding, with no expectations for joy in your heart.
You, waiting, waiting, waiting for test results in heart-wrenching uncertainty,
May the church call out with you, “How long, O Lord?”
You, anxiously wondering how you’ll get out of bed and muster up energy for Christmas Day activities,
May the church walk with you toward the dawn, and if your eyes can’t adjust to the light, may the church curl into the darkness with you as long as you need, whispering words of hope.
You, staring at your bank accounts, constantly checking your email and phone for responses to resumes,
May the church support and lift you, for you’re not alone—it’s been there too and wants to help.
You, dreading strained conversations and grieving difficult relationships,
May the church help you let go and cling to the promises of Christ, who assures us one day all things will be made new.
You, anticipating a Christmas season that finally feels worth celebrating,
May the church share in your hope and provide you with space to enter into joy.
You, whoever You are, may you hear and know the message of God:
By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:78-79