Photo by Zach Lucero on Unsplash
Lord, our God and Father, give to us, that we may celebrate Christmas like this: that in complete thankfulness, utter humility, and then complete joy and confidence we may come to the one whom you have sent, and in whom you yourself have come to us. Now that the hour has come, clean out the many things that have become impossible for us, can no longer belong to us, may, must, and will fall away from us, by virtue of your beloved Son, our Lord and Savior, entering into our midst and creating order.
Have mercy also on all of those who either do not yet or do not fully know you and your kingdom, who perhaps once knew everything and have either forgotten, misunderstood, or even denied it! Have mercy on all of humankind, who today are once again plagued, threatened, and haunted by so much foolishness! Enlighten the thoughts of those in both the East and the West who are in power and who, as appears to be the case, are today in complete confusion and despair! Give the rulers and representatives of the people, the judges, teachers and bureaucrats, give even the newspaper reporters in our homeland, the insight and sobriety that are necessary for their responsible work!
For those who preach this Christmas season, place the right, necessary, and helpful words on their lips, and open also the ears and hearts of those who hear them! Comfort and encourage those who are sick, both in body and spirit, in the hospitals, as well as the prisoners, and those who are distressed, abandoned, or despairing! Help them with what alone can truly help them and all of us: the clarity of your Word and the quiet work of your Holy Spirit.
We thank you that we are permitted to know that we do not pray to you in vain. We thank you that you have let your light rise, that it shines in the darkness, and that the darkness will not overcome it. We thank you that you are our God, and that we may be your people. Amen.
Karl Barth, 1886 – 1968, Swiss Reformed theologian
Fifty Prayers, freely modified
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.