It is the custom, in the Congregation where I am serving this year, for a member of the Congregation to lead the prayers of the people each Sunday. Yesterday, Robyn Robinson led us in prayers which, with her permission, I post here: assisting us to prepare prayerfully for Christmas celebrations.
Loving God, we bring to you the prayers of the people: your people, greatly loved and willingly sought.
As Christmas approaches, we are reminded of the amazing gift you have given us, for as a God who knew no boundaries, you were willing to limit yourself to the constraints and boundaries of being human.
You came to your people as one of us: Emmanuel, God with us.
The angels sang of peace and goodwill on earth; and yet, here, so many years later, we are still struggling with terrible tragedies and inexplicable events.
We think of the continuing battle against the bushfires, and pray for rain.
We think of the civil unrest in countries overseas, and pray for calm.
We think of the natural disaster in New Zealand, and pray for comfort.
We think of the continuing violence in our homes, work places, and cities, and pray for peace.
Compassionate God, we pray for all those who are suffering, and ask for your comfort and peace to surround them.
There was no room at the inn for the child of Mary and Joseph, a king born in lowly surroundings; we pray for all of royal birth, for all of humble origins, for all who find no room or acceptance in society today.
We pray for those who have no room in their life for you; for those who publicly mock or ridicule you, and for all who suffer in your name.
May your love grow more and more in us, as we become more and more like Jesus, living out our faith in ways that will change the world.
We pray that we might see beyond the decorations and the holidays, the food and the presents, to the coming of the Christ child and the love, joy, hope and peace that comes with your presence.
May we all see beyond the snap of a cracker, filled with a few trinkets and a party hat, to see a richly fulfilling life as a child of God.
Help us to let go of our personal kingdoms of selfishness and greed, and, like Mary, bring Jesus to the world through everything we say and do. Amen.