The Reverend Christine V. Hides
Inspired by Isaiah 9:1–7
On this most sacred eve we are keenly aware of what it means to gather in this sanctuary together. Like Mary and Joseph we come both weary and joyful. Like the shepherds we experience both wonder and trepidation. Like the Magi our journey to this holy moment has been long. With gratitude for the ability to come as we are, we take a moment to offer our silent prayers to you. O God. Holy One, Hear our prayers.
Amidst a weary and broken world the Word became flesh, and lived among us, filled with grace and truth. On this night, heaven meets earth, divine love arrives cradled in a messy manger. Jesus humbly born, lived, and walked among your people, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, welcoming the children, revealing a kingdom unlike any we know.
God of the stable, let hope arrive. Because you arrived that silent night so long ago, in the unlikeliest of places, we trust you will arrive in each of our searching hearts again tonight and in your time will bring rest to the weary, reconciliation in impossible rifts, and a path forward when we no longer know the way.
God of the shepherds in the fields let great joy arrive, increase it beyond our wildest night visions. For those far from loved ones, for those who grieve, for those with tender hearts longing for the seats around the table to be filled, for all facing physical and mental illness, for those who are alone, let joy be born anew, let light shine in deep darkness.
God of the nations, God of justice, let everlasting peace arrive, for in that tiny town of Bethlehem long ago, with the yoke of empire weighing on the shoulders of the powerless gathered to be counted, hope in unfamiliar form slipped into the world, almost unnoticed. Heaven met earth and the Prince of Peace arrived on a starlit night. And so, we pray for the vulnerable, those on the edges, those seeking shelter, those who live invisibly among us. Open our hearts to their needs. Let the sound of warrior’s tramping boots cease, that everlasting peace might blanket every corner of the world. We pray especially for the leaders of nations, that they might seek your wisdom, We pray for the healers and the peacemakers, that they might have strength and courage to continue their work.
On this night of nights, we bring our prayers to you O God, for you shine a great light when the land is covered in deep shadows. Unto us a child is born, a son is given, and so we join our voices in prayer…