It is set to be a quiet Christmas in the Challies home. Like so many other families, we had plans for today that have been interrupted by illness. And so we will spend the day—and, I’m sure, enjoy the day—with just the four of us. And as we begin, this prayer is on my lips:
On this Christmas Day, my Father, I come to you with a glad heart. Help me to observe the day fitly, with loving remembrance of the lowly birth in Bethlehem and the sorrows of him who came to bring redemption, and with grateful thanks to you for your great mercy.
May this be a true Christmas in my heart. Take away all unbelief, all bitter thought and feeling, all resentment and unforgiveness, all unholy desire and give me love—love that is patient and kind, that is not provoked, that thinks no evil, that seeks not its own. Save me from all selfishness. While I gratefully receive the Christmas blessings and enjoy them, may my heart be opened toward all the world in sympathy and kindly interest. Make my life a song, and may I go everywhere with joy on my face and on my lips.
I pray for all those to whom Christmas brings gladness, that their joy may be enriched by thoughts of your divine love. I pray for the multitudes of little children everywhere, to whom the day means so much, who have been waiting for it so long in eager expectancy, and who will be happy with their gifts and with the love that blesses them.
I pray also for those to whom the day brings little of joy—the very poor, the lonely and solitary; those far away from their homes, whose hearts will not be warmed by human love; prisoners in their prisons; sailors on the sea; and those who know not you. I pray for the sick in their homes and in the hospitals, that in their suffering they may be comforted by the remembrance of your divine compassion. I pray for the bereft and sorrowing, to whom Christmas brings painful memories, making more real their sense of loss. May they find comfort in the thought of Christ’s unfailing love.
May this glad Christmas leave my life richer and tenderer. May your divine love henceforth be more real to me. May I be sure of your divine care and guidance. May my heart be warmer toward my fellows, tenderer in its sympathy with human need and sorrow, and may I live a gentler, more kindly life, because of this day’s revealing of your wondrous love. Grant these favors through Jesus Christ. Amen.
(Drawn from J.R. Miller)