Crafting Prayer at Christmas


Crafting Prayer at Christmas

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by David Sparks

Canadian Tire tells us that you can buy a Hisense 32” LCD TV for $249 and Zellers remind us that on Dec. 16th all Christmas decorations are 60% off.

The ever present flyers are symbols of the great “holiday season” marketing campaign. The prayer crafter is challenged to push through the commercial Christmas to a different situation and different themes.

What are we to pray about at Christmas? Will we be able to make a connection between Santa the great gift giver to good boys and girls, and the baby Jesus laying in a manger?

One of the common themes is joy. There is joy in the giving and receiving of gifts on Christmas morning, but joy goes beyond the ‘under the tree’ gifts to encompass the reunion of families and the parties and visits to neighbours.

At Christmas time we rejoice in fulfilling the obligations we have had throughout the year but haven’t quite got round to. Quite suddenly we have permission to drop by for a chat, take round some baking or visit for a while at the post office.

The angel says to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people…” and we say, “we will be about this joy bringing, we will have the theme of joy weave in and out of our Christmas prayers,” but we cannot leave it there.

As prayer crafters we have to hold up the other side, the danger that Mary and Joseph were in as they made the tough journey to Bethlehem, and the opposition of Herod to this newborn “King of the Jews.” There is challenge as well as joy.

And so we will pray for those who cannot leave their homes or are in hospital at Christmas, those who are not able to be with family, and those who are working to keep the planes flying, the emergency services operating, and the lights shining, the essential services group.

Prayer writers and worship leaders know that a balance is called for here and that it is helpful to provide a ‘Blue Christmas’ service prayers for those who are feeling the loss of a life’s partner or good friend.

I wish you joy with your Christmas prayer crafting and joy as you write into the New Year.

David Sparks was educated theologically in England and Canada and has served for 30 years with The United Church of Canada. His most recent book, Pastoral Prayers to Share Year B, is the second in a three-year series of lectionary-based prayers of the people.

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Categories: David Sparks, Prayer

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One Comment on “Crafting Prayer at Christmas”

  1. Donna
    December 20, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

    Lovely to recognize the craft of prayer writing ( as well as the inspiration)

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