on the sixth day of Christmas (December 30, 2017), my True Love gave to me the gift of hope

Note: These prayers, one for each day of the twelve-day Christmas season, in which my True Love is God, follow the pattern of that well-known 18th century English carol with a number of the days illumined by the observances of the Church calendar.

O gracious God, on this day, repeating an annual cycle – one day’s step from the end of a calendar year and one day’s step from the next – the world equally annually (alway?) seems enshrouded in winter’s gray of indifference and intolerance, inequality and iniquity.

Yet You, O gracious God, pour Your Self into the flesh of a baby of lowest earthly estate born to an unwed mother, laid in a feeding trough for animals,(1) and, hounded by authorities seeking his death, made to be a refugee.(2)

This, Your stupendous story pregnant with expectation, this Your stupefying mystery impregnable to all opposition, bears…is the light of hope that You and Your will, Your Word of Love incarnate(3) conquer all.

Amen.

 

Footnotes:
(1) See Luke 2.1-7
(2) See Matthew 2.13
(3) John 1.14

on the fifth day of Christmas (December 29, 2017, Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury), my True Love gave to me the gift of courage

Note: These prayers, one for each day of the twelve-day Christmas season, in which my True Love is God, follow the pattern of that well-known 18th century English carol with a number of the days illumined by the observances of the Church calendar.

O gracious God, Your servant Thomas Becket, opposing the usurping lusts of King Henry II, who would make the church his vassal, a slave to the crown, was slain at the very altar of Your worship.(1)

By Your Spirit, grant unto me the courage that resists the surrender of making strifeless-peace with worldly principalities, secular or ecclesial, and, thus, vigilant, dares speak to the self-serving sins of power the truth Your unconditional love and justice.

Amen.

 

Footnote:
(1) Thomas Becket (1119-1170), Archbishop of Canterbury (1162-1170), acclaimed as a saint and martyr by the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, engaged in conflict with King Henry II of England over the rights and privileges of the Church and was murdered by followers of the king in Canterbury Cathedral on December 29, 1170.

on the fourth day of Christmas (December 28, 2017, The Holy Innocents), my True Love gave to me the gifts of sympathy and sensitivity

Note: These prayers, one for each day of the twelve-day Christmas season, in which my True Love is God, follow the pattern of that well-known 18th century English carol with a number of the days illumined by the observances of the Church calendar.

O gracious God, Herod, frightened by the fulfillment of the prophecy of the one born king of the Jews(1) and infuriated by the trickery of the magi who would give him no word of the location of the Christ Child, sent his legions to strike down all the children of Bethlehem.(2) Unto this day, innocent children suffer at the despoiling hands of human traffickers and the despotic hearts of rulers who, engaging in war, kill, maim, and make refugees of their own people.

By Your Spirit, e’er sharpen my sympathy, ne’er dull my sensitivity to suffering, yea, by the sword of Your Spirit pierce my heart to its beating, bleeding core, that I, whene’er and where’er and howe’er, alway can and will stand on the side of Your holy innocents.

Amen.

 

Footnotes:
(1) See Matthew 2.1-8
(2) See Matthew 2.13-18

on the third day of Christmas (December 27, 2017, St. John, Apostle and Evangelist), my True Love gave to me the gift of steadfastness

Note: These prayers, one for each day of the twelve-day Christmas season, in which my True Love is God, follow the pattern of that well-known 18th century English carol with a number of the days illumined by the observances of the Church calendar.

O gracious God, Your Son Jesus spake that his most-loved disciple, John, would remain until he came again.(1) So, it hath been and is that through his work as an evangelist, his word standing the test of time o’er two millennia and spanning the world-round, John hath remained a stalwart witness of the good news of Jesus ‘til that hour of his return.

By Your Spirit, may I, in my day and time, as long as You grant me breath and strength, continue to be a steadfast witness of the gospel. Amen.

 

Footnote:
(1) See John 21.20-24

on the second day of Christmas (December 26, 2017, St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr), my True Love gave to me the gift of sacrifice

Note: These prayers, one for each day of the twelve-day Christmas season, in which my True Love is God, follow the pattern of that well-known 18th century English carol with a number of the days illumined by the observances of the Church calendar.

O gracious God, Your servant Stephen, called by the first apostles to the ministry of service, proving himself imbued with Spirit-wisdom, went forth to proclaim the good news of Your Son Jesus; for the sake of which he, sharing the fate of Your Son, was slain.(1)

By Your Spirit, may I, emboldened by Stephen’s witness, holding fast to the soul of sacrifice, make no treaty with the temptations – seek no solace in the siren-songs – of comfort and convenience.

Yea, may I alway incline the ear of my heart to Your Apostle’s word: “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus…I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching.”(2)

Amen.

 

Footnotes:
(1) See Acts 6.1-7.60
(2) 2 Timothy 4.1a, 2

on the first day of Christmas (December 25, 2017, Christmas Day), my True Love gave to me the gift of the blessed babe born in the Bethlehem manger

Note: These prayers, one for each day of the twelve-day Christmas season, in which my True Love is God, follow the pattern of that well-known 18th century English carol with a number of the days illumined by the observances of the Church calendar.

O gracious God, I thank You for the gift of Your Son, Jesus; Your Love enfleshed in our mortal frame to be Emmanuel, “God with us” and to reveal to us who You are and who, from the dawn of creation, You have meant us to be by making us in Your image.

By the daily nurturance of Your Spirit, may the Christ Child be born again in the womb of my soul that I may grow, day by day, I pray, into the fullness of His likeness.

Amen.

waiting for Jesus – an Advent-season-prayer-a-day, Day 22 (and final), the Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 24, 2017

Note: Advent, from the Latin, adventus, “coming”, is the Christian season of preparation for Jesus’ birth, the heart of the Christmas celebration, and, according to scripture and the Christian creeds, his second appearance on some future, unknown day and also according to scripture and Christian tradition, his daily coming through the Holy Spirit. Hence, the theme of waiting for Jesus is Advent’s clarion call.

O Lord Jesus, I wait this day and all days for the wonder of Your Waiting; You Whose tolerance in the timing of Your second coming is meant, I believe…I know to allow me to repent.(1)

O Lord Jesus, ever regarding Your patience as salvation,(2) may I not…make me not resist the loving labor of Your Spirit in bringing me to peace with You that I, this day and alway, may…will rejoice to behold Your appearing.

Amen.

 

Footnotes:
(1) See Romans 2.4
(2) See 2 Peter 3.15