This is a prayer for our Carols and readings service this Sunday. The focus for the fourth Sunday in Advent is love, and this will come after our call to worship which is 1 John 4: 8-12. a wonderful passage about love and the incarnation as an expression of God's love for us.
The prayer follows a simple progression, what we 'love' about Christmas, the love of Christmas in Jesus Christ, and living out that Christmas love by loving one another. It starts with I guess is an idealized Christmas which we would all love to experience (well I know our northern friends like there white Christmas) ad then moves on to look at the Love of God shown in the incarnation, the coming and life, death and Resurrection of Jesus. Then finishes by taking that love into the imperfect hurt and needy world in which we live. where people struggle with debt, grief aloneness and isolation at Christmas, its a Christmas time when we hear the word genocide in Allepo in Syria, where in New Zealand we find that we have been named as the most prosperous country in the world the same week as a study was released saying that one in three children in our nation live in poverty... praying that we may be people who would bring God's Christmas love into this world of ours.
If you are northern hemisphere person reading this prayer... I'm sorry but it pure Southern hemisphere Christmas in the summer time. The Pohutukawa is known as the New Zealand Christmas tree, it Blooms with vibrant crimson flowers just before Christmas. Red and green are traditional Christmas colours and remind us of new life in Christ's blood. The image that goes with this prayer is the Pohutukawa tree in our church car park...
Like most of my payers I've tried to write with a bit of poetic styling and structure. I'm not sure it flows I am sure I only have a small bit of poetic style. Once again I hope it is of use and helps express something of our praise and prayers for this season. Please feel free to use any or all or none of it.
We want to thank you for what we love about Christmas
Time to gather with family and friends and just catch up
Taking time to reconnect with loved ones who live far away
The sudden chance to relax and wind down after end of year rush
A summer break after that same rush that seems to have lasted all year
For gifts given and for giving gifts as expressions of love
For banquet like meals, left overs and easy going BBQ’s
Sunny beaches lined with Pohutukawa crimson bloom
Favourite carols that spark memories and gospel story hope
We want to thank you for Christmas Love
That you heard the cry of your people in darkness caught
That you faithfully sort to change, bring back and make new
Your word stepping into our world, full of grace and truth
In Bethlehem stall, the word becoming flesh and being with us
Dwelling with us: knowing our joy and sorrow,in Jesus our Emmanuel
Good news for poor, sight for blind and captives go free
Forgiveness of sin through Christ’s death on a tree
New creation breaking forth from empty tomb, as ‘he is risen indeed’
Your ongoing presence and kingdom in the promised Holy Spirit sent
We pray for your Christmas love today
May it find those alone, weighed down and sorrow filled,
May it reach to bring lasting peace amidst bomb blast and gunfire
May it bring hope in the face of poverty, neglect, violence and abuse
Bring wholeness and healing to pained, stained and broken souls
Forgiveness and reconciliation to family, community and world
The light of your kingdom in the dark recesses where evil seeks to rule
May it inspire generosity and sacrificial love in the face our self-seeking
May we be like Christ and love first: love as you first loved us