This Christmas, like the first Christmas, there is enough darkness around to fill up the night. We watch the news and experience the gloom; we visit the hospitals and sick rooms and see those suffering; we see the dwindling bottom line of our checking accounts; we miss those who are away from us, those serving this night and many others around the world to bring peace. We stop momentarily at the sight of the Christ Child, illuminating the manger, but sometimes, the darkness can border on overwhelming.
And then we remember. We remember that this year, you showed up in ways we didn’t expect, that the promises you made years ago continue to be evident in our lives, and we pray again, to make the light shine a little brighter, a little warmer, a little bigger.
This Christmas, we pray that you would sweep into our lives like a tidal wave and wash away our doubt. We pray that you would smooth down the rough edges and make evident your glory, that we might see and know.
But in the darkness, in the middle, in the midst of life, we pray that you would give us just enough hope to make it day by day. That you would help us rest in the peace that you give us what we need when we need it, that you have governed our days and our nights, and you watch over our living and dying as well.
Help us celebrate that in Jesus in the cradle and on the cross, that the darkness has not won- that it cannot win. Help us to take joy and hope that this baby in a manager changes everything, that our lives are made right and that new birth brings new life.
Lift up the manger and the cross, shine them for the world to see, to forgive our sins, to bind up our hearts, to make our relationships repaired, and to give us the faith to wake up on Christmas day and the day after and the day after that, and proclaim:
“God is with us. We are not alone.”