The Reverend Christine V. Hides
Gracious and Holy God, Light from Light Eternal,
once again, we make the long, silent, journey to Bethlehem
where you meet us in the humility of the messy manger,
making way for the glorious impossible.
With Mary and Joseph we wonder at the gift of something new born in our midst
on a cold winter night what is long awaited arrives.
We peer into the manger and see the good news.
Your love made tangible.
Joy for all, not just for some. Emmanuel, God with us.
With the shepherds we hear your heavenly assurance, “Do not be afraid.”
Hope arrives tenderly, in the most fragile of packages,
a newborn child wrapped in bands of cloth.
We see that even in the hardest days,
there is a way through with the divine ever-near.
And so like the magi, we follow the wild star,
expecting to find your glory revealed,
yearning to see your peace breaking into
the unexpected, forgotten corners of the world.
We come to you with gratitude, offering to you our insufficient thanks
for the simple joys of the season: for treasured traditions,
for the company of family and friends who love us as we are,
for this community of faith to come home to,
and for this candlelit sanctuary to worship you.
Illumine the world with your mighty works.
Let your goodness be known to all who seek a portion of your peace,
a measure of your mercy, and generous helping of healing.
Let us once again find you at the manger.
Let the quiet night quiet our urgency.
Still the bustle of last minute preparation.
Let the calm and bright of the candlelight and stars dazzle us.
Holy God, hold the burdens we carry with us.
Make way for the messy corners of our humanity.
As you did that night long ago, let the dawn of your love break into our lives.
Let Mary’s song of liberation and freedom be our prayer:
lift up the powerless and poor. Fill the hungry with good things.
Let our souls magnify you, O Lord.
O incarnate God, tonight we come weary and wondering,
hearts overflowing with what is joyful and what is tender.
Show us a vibrant multiplicity in the familiar rituals.
Transform us, enliven us, remind us once more of the joy of this world,
the savior, the messiah, born this day.
In humility and hope we join our voices, praying the ancient prayer Jesus teaches us: Our Father…Amen.