Our heavenly Father, on this Christmas Sunday we rejoice in the good news of Your Son: ‟To us a child is born; to us a son is given.” We thank and praise You for Your great love and for the gift of salvation made possible through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. We rejoice once again in the message of the angelic choir: ‟Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will among men.”
Father, even though centuries separate us from the birth of our Lord, remind us that it was in a time and place not terribly unlike ours. You caused a virgin girl to conceive and bear a child and call His name Jesus―Savior. In the humble setting of a cattle stall the Word became flesh and the light of eternity broke through into our time-bound world. The words of the apostle John never lose its excitement: ‟We beheld His glory, the glory of the only Son of God, full of grace and truth.” Fill us with anticipation for that time when we shall see Him ourselves.
As we celebrate Christmas, we remember that the Savior was not received hospitably by those people who claimed to be waiting anxiously for Him. The religious leaders of the day sought His life, because they saw Him to be a threat to their traditions. Herod the Great sought His life, because he saw the Messiah as a threat to his own rule. Under Pontius Pilate, the Romans crucified Him because they saw Him as a potential troublemaker.
Father, we cannot view these people as different than ourselves. Too often we have felt Jesus was a threat to our chosen ways as we refuse to bow in submission before Him. We have seen Jesus as a threat to our happiness and have hesitated to commit ourselves to doing His will. We have sometimes viewed the Christ with indifference and considered Him to be irrelevant for our modern times. We have seen His claim to Lordship as an infringement on our rights.
We pray for the millions of people who miss the true meaning of Christmas, because they have no personal relationship with the Savior. They still walk in darkness, seeking in empty forms and traditions peace of mind. They continue their pursuit of happiness along paths leading nowhere. On this Christmas, Father, we pray that some will come to recognize they will find no respite from their restlessness until they find You, for You have made them for Yourself.
We pray for those who have left home and family to bring the news of Christ to those yet to hear and understand. Especially at this time of family gatherings and familiar traditions, we ask that the Holy Spirit encourage their labors and bring a fresh sense of our Lord’s presence.
For each of us who worship, let the joy of Christmas renew within us the thrill of hope, and may the peace of Christ keep our hearts and minds fixed on Him. We pray in the name of Jesus and for our sakes. Amen.