Lord, music on the radio insists “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Children believe they’d “better not pout, better not cry” or they’ll find coal in their stockings. Yet for many, this festive season can rub salt into the painful wounds of life. During the holidays we need your comfort and compassion more than ever.
Draw near to those who feel alone.
‘Goodbye’ brings heartbreak as the moving van drives out of town. Friendships grow quiet and distant. Emails and voicemails go unanswered, leaving us feeling forgotten. An empty house feels cold and silent. In your Word you say you “set the lonely in families.” (Psalm 68:6) For the lonely ones around us, surround them with the family of God. Use me and my house to give warmth, welcome, and love.
Heal the grieving heart, Lord.
It’s impossible to feel “merry and bright” when loved ones are torn from our lives. The nativity story of joyful birth reminds the childless of their own empty arms. Families’ cherished traditions feel hollow without that absent, precious family member to share them. As we remember the coming of Jesus, give hope in knowing you’re here with us and you’re coming again. Heal our souls with assurance we’ll see those we lost when you come to take us home.
Bring your peace, repairing damaged relationships.
Conflict, betrayal, and broken promises build a stone-cold wall of separation. Christmas greetings are silenced and we face a new year of stress and strife. Just as you’ve reconciled us to yourself through Jesus, restore our relationships with friends and family too. Give us humility to confess how we’ve hurt one another. Open communication so we can share our hearts. Allow us to “walk in the way of love” with each other as your children. (Ephesians 5:2)
As our Father, provide for our physical needs.
Our bodies grow sick and weak in this sin-damaged world. Chronic pain steals our strength and joy. The doctor’s serious diagnosis makes us fear for the one we love. Our bank accounts grow “sick” as well, as our funds are depleted. Financial stress weighs heavy on our shoulders—we can’t pay the bills, much less buy the treats, decorations, and generous gifts of the season. Lord, restore our health and provide for our “daily bread” out of your lavish kindness. Be our source of well-being and security in these difficult days.
Minister to our emotions as well.
Depression and anxiety refuse to take a Christmas vacation. Darkness wraps itself around our minds, detaching us from the fun of parties, concerts, and cozy gatherings. Our energy drains away, making the to-do’s of the season feel like burdens instead of blessings. Negativity seeps into our words and attitudes. By the power of your Spirit, we ask to “be transformed by the renewing of our minds.” (Romans 12:2) Give us true joy by knowing we’re chosen to be your treasured possession. (Deuteronomy 7:6) Wash away despair and fear by the overwhelming love of Jesus.
Thank you for inviting us to bring our hurts, worries, and disappointments to you. You give unshakeable hope, since our lives are “now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is [our] life, appears, then [we] also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:3)
Thank you for Christmas. No matter how much or little we celebrate, how full or empty our home may be, or how bright or broken we feel, we have Jesus. He came into this world to find us and claim us as his own. He lived so we can live forever. We gained a future, a hope, and a Savior who today’s troubles and sorrows can never take away. Thank you for love and comfort at Christmas and every day.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things?
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son,
but gave him up for us all—how will he not also,
along with him, graciously give us all things?
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine
or nakedness or danger or sword?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors
through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:31-32, 35, 37-39)