An earnest Christmas outpouring (before a blog break at the sea)

I’m really burdened to pray about this Christmas.

It’s supposed to be a time of peace on earth and good will to all men. But for lots of people it’s just feverish stress and strained familial obligations.

In no particular order, here are the rambling cries of my Christmas heart:

I’m praying for vulnerable, broken people who are dealing with frightening, tangible traumas. I want this Christmas to be a watershed of healing and hope.

I’m praying for polite, smiling, hurting people who are masking old damages. I want this Christmas to mark their choice to stop lugging ugly unforgiveness. I want them to decide to travel light into next year.

I’m praying that we would be in quiet awe of the God who broke into our darkness by sending his Son into the world to save the people who would later nail him to a cross. I’m giving thanks that because he sent Jesus we can know what it really means to live. These lyrics from Tenth Avenue North have seized my thoughts this week:

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,

You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,

You are more than the problems you create,

You’ve been remade.

 No matter who we are, where we’re from, what we’ve done or what hangs over us: we are redeemed. Made new. Children of the Most High. I want Christmas to be a celebration of this. O come, let us adore him.

I’m praying that Christmas would be a time of surrendering our responsibilities to God, because he promises to carry our burdens. I’m praying it would be a time when people look at facing another year, think, ‘I can’t!’ and then remember that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

I’m praying that, despite the frenzies that inevitably broil around shopping and cooking, Christmas would be a time of rest. I’m praying God would grow us and strengthen us for his 2012 plans for us.

I’m thanking God for traditions and memories that have seeped into my DNA over a lifetime of celebrating Christmas with an amazing family – things that make me feel like a kid at, well, Christmas.

I’m thanking him for the truth that he never leaves us nor forsakes us. As he’s been with us in 2011, so he’ll be with us in 2012. I’m giving thanks that he will light up the path before us, even if it’s only for the next step.

‘The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.’ – Isaiah 9:2

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