A Christmas Prayer

 

I don’t know why I kept the newsletter for 30th December 2007, but I do think this article’s message is timeless, just change the places mentioned in the ‘joy’ paragraph for the many places plagued by war, terror, famine and natural disasters in 2015.
At our Christmas Day Service (2007) the following thought was shared with us regarding what we wanted for Christmas, and as we prepare to start a New Year, it would be good to hold on to these thoughts.

What do I want for Christmas?
Lord, the list is endless; so many things I wish for, so much my heart cries out for.
Here is my list, Lord.

First is hope.
I want hope to be reborn in so many weary souls, in a community sunk in apathy. I want hope in the holding centres of Zimbabwe, in the terrorised refugee camps of Darfur, on the winter slopes of the shattered mountains of Pakistan, on the fear-stalked streets of Baghdad, in the forgotten famine of Niger, in all places of despair – I want hope.

Next on my list is joy.
It’s a scarce commodity, Lord, but I want it to bubble up from way beneath the depths of the anguish, pain and grief that shape the stories of so many lives. I want joy for children who never have had cause to celebrate, and joy for those grown old and lonely. In place of sadness, grief and mourning – I want joy.

And then there’s peace, the most sought after and perhaps the most elusive gift of all, peace that is the healing balm for broken hearts and troubled minds, peace for countries torn apart by civil strife, peace between nations, a decommissioning of minds and hearts, so bridges may be built and new communities based on trust, respect and friendship may herald the dawn of a new day for our world. I all places of discord – I want peace.

You ask me what I want for Christmas, Lord. I want hope and joy and peace, but most of all it’s love I want, love for myself, for others and for You. Without it, all other gifts are rendered impotent.

I pause in my requests and in the stillness hear a voice,
“Why do you ask for what already has been given?
For Love was born at Christmas, and is forever present in my world, but you must first receive it before you pass it on. It is a gift that grows by sharing.”

At last I understand – I no longer have a list, just one request.

‘All I want for Christmas, Lord, is YOU.’

(Prepared by Rev. Doctor Ruth Patterson OBE)
Ian Messer