A prayer for Christmas

Dear friends I offer this prayer for you to consider and if appropriate to use as part of your Christmas preparation. I believe that if we can find the time amongst the busyness and distraction to consider what God has done for us it will naturally lead us into a place of celebration and thankfulness that will spill over into compassion and concern for those around us. Please accept this prayer as my Christmas gift to you.

Heavenly father, we praise you for all you have shown us in Jesus, now we know that you are not far away.
We thank you that though we cannot see you, you have promised that no matter who or what we are,
no matter what we have done or failed to do, you will be very near to each and every one of us.

As we prepare for Christmas, help us to remember the coming of Jesus.
We praise you for the joy of his living presence in our lives.
Father, we praise you that he came into the world just as we did, as a helpless baby.
We thank you that his coming has left us in no doubt about your love and mercy.
We praise you that he has opened the way to real life now and for all eternity.

We praise you for the story of Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, and the angels, the wise men and the star.
We praise you for the carols we sing and the joy we share in celebrating the arrival of Jesus.
We are all the more thankful that it is not just a story but a message of the birth of the Saviour of the world.

Forgive us, Father, if we spend so much time preparing to enjoy ourselves that we forget those who will have no joy this Christmas.
Forgive us that as we decorate our homes, we forget those who have no home.
Forgive us if, as we welcome the baby in the manger, we forget he was the man on the cross.

Please help those for whom Christmas is not a time of joy but a time of hardship and hurting and painful memories. And help all of us to bring the Holy Spirit of Christ into every part of our Christmas this year.

We make our prayer in the name of Jesus, who came and still comes.