2016 will be remembered as a year of incredible change. Some of us will look back with personal joy at specific events but others still confuse and bewilder us. In the face of uncertainty the Church can seem irrelevant or powerless. But let us never forget that we have a great resource to help us through times of insecurity: prayer. So for this Advent and Christmas I offer the following prayer to help us refocus as we move towards a new year:
We pray for all who hope for good news,
even when it does not come;
for all who hope for healing,
even though they are still anxious.
We pray for all who have lost hope for their children
because they are surrounded by disease,
by famine, by war, by vendetta.
We pray for all who build hope
by identifying with the hopeless;
by living alongside the desperate;
by kissing the weeping child
and hugging the grief-stricken mother.
We pray for peace this Christmas:
peace on earth as it is in heaven,
peace in our homes, peace in our cities,
peace in war zones, peace in feuding families,
peace outside us, peace inside us,
peace between nations, peace between religions.
We pray for peace-creators and peace-destroyers,
peace-protectors and peace-disturbers,
peace-enablers and peace-breakers.
We pray this Christmas for lovers:
lovers of hope and lovers of peace,
lovers of friends and lovers of enemies,
lovers of the loveless and lovers of those injured,
lovers of life and lovers of justice,
lovers of animals and lovers of creation,
lovers of beauty, lovers of music, lovers of art,
lovers of babies in straw-filled mangers,
lovers of worship and lovers of generosity.
We pray in the name of Jesus, hope-giver, peace-maker, and love-bringer.
Nicola, Cameron and Ross join me in sending you greetings this Christmas and wishing you hope, peace and love.
With love and prayers
Russell J Furley-Smith