Prayers of the People | December 16


We live in a world of many cultures, faiths and traditions.  We live in a time of war, unsettled weather patterns, senseless acts of violence, and unsurpassed electronic capabilities.  We live in a season of Christmas, Hannakah, and Solstice with keen observation of light and how that shapes our lives.  In this place, we will celebrate Christmas and on this crisp, dark, December night, we go back to that stark pilgrimage of Mary and Joseph.  They would make their way toward that iconic stable for Jesus’ humble and quiet birth.  Once again, we rehearse this coming of God in our world; born not in a royal palace, but in a cold barn; not as a conquering King, but as a crying, helpless baby; not as a progeny of a privileged family, but as a child born in a land under military occupation.  This baby came into the world surrounded not by media, extended family, or balloons but by shepherds and lowly beasts.

We are watching.  We are waiting.  Lord, In Your Mercy, Hear Our Prayer.

 

Our senses are on overload with our attention being drawn in many directions.  We hear Christmas Carols everywhere along with the playful laughter of children, we enjoy the scent of fresh greenery, peppermint and hot cider, we see beautiful displays of lights, colorful and animated, from the most lavish to the most modest tributes to the season.  At a time of parties, preparations and pageants, may we separate ourselves, as we heard in Isaiah, to find that wilderness or solitary place.  Be it be a quiet corner to sit and reflect, that isolated path to run, walk or ski, or that crackling fireplace inside or out to watch and wonder – in order to ease the flurry and fuss that becomes our reality. 

We are watching.  We are waiting.  Lord, In Your Mercy, Hear Our Prayer.

 

Globally, we pray for those regimes characterized by war, we remember Afghanistan, Syria and Turkey.  This evening, we ask for your comfort to the many families affected by the horrific event at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut on Friday.  May we pause as a collective remembrance of the lives lost and lives forever changed.  PAUSE.   We remember other children in the line of fire in Syria and Central China. Illuminate the darkness where peace and calm seem futile, penetrate the powers of captors and perpetrators and lead us to an atmosphere of peace.  May the light from that stable give the world a sense of hope, resilience and optimism. 

Locally, we pray for those living in poverty, those living with dis-ease of body, mind or spirit, and those living alone from morning to night.  Whatever the need, please take a moment to name aloud or in your hearts those needing prayer.  Father, grant your peace on those who have died; comfort to those who mourn.  Thank you, God, for being present in, participating in, and attentive to the darkness, weakness, and displacement in our lives.

We are watching.  We are waiting.  Lord, In Your Mercy, Hear Our Prayer.

 

Our culture is fairly embedded with being caught up in the distractions of our affluence this time of year.  Luke’s gospel asks us to explore how we can change it up and affect benevolence regularly rather than a couple weeks of the year.  What could we do?  What should we do?  Visit people who are alone in hospital or personal care homes, billet a student, grow a row in our gardens to share, become a Big Brother or Big Sister, the list is endless.  Show us how to unclutter our lives, O God and live the miracle of Jesus in our daily offerings to others.  At this time, we thank you for all the tables this community surrounds, particularly our endless, inclusive table of the sacraments.  The bread will fill us, the wine will calm us, and we will be reminded that we are not alone.  We remain open to your power that can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.

We are watching.  We are waiting.  Lord, In Your Mercy, Hear Our Prayer.

 

We pray for safe travel, safe driving conditions, safe drivers and responsible choices around this festive season and the winter months ahead.  May we consider driving less and walking more, carpooling or public transit and find intention in the earth’s need for responsible stewardship.  Getting back to that stable….

Take time to be aware that in the midst of our busy preparations  

Christ is reborn in the Bethlehem of our vocations, homes, family and daily lives.

Take time, slow down, be still, be awake

To the divine Mystery

That looks so common and so ordinary

Yet is so wonderously present.


AMEN

 

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