formation friday: a christmas 2016 prayer

kathyescobar advent & lent, faith shifts, formation friday, healing, incarnational, spiritual formation 2 Comments

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve; my kids are all home, and the older they get the more I realize the treasure of that time. We had our last Christmas party on Wednesday night and I’m beginning to get ready to go into vacation mode! For some weird reason the past few weeks post-election I’ve been coming back to a prayer that I wrote a long time ago here as part of Formation Fridays called A Shifter’s Prayer. It ended up being the last paragraph of Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart, which is kind of fun. I sometimes appreciate having a template or framework to get me started when I’m trying to connect with God, what’s going on in my heart, what I’m wrestling with and hoping for.

I decided to re-write it for Christmas this year, knowing so many of us are feeling discouraged at the realities of the USA post-election, the state-of-the-church, real life and the unknowns ahead for 2017. If you’re feeling good right now, you still might appreciate it. I hope it’s somehow a helpful exercise for those who try it; it was good for me to take some time and notice.

Here are the prompts:

A Christmas 2016 Prayer

God, this Christmas I am feeling really… (a few feelings you’re experiencing right now–here’s a list if you need it)

I realize I have lost hope in… (what you may have lost hope in–systems, people, relationships, God, anything that comes to mind).

My faith feels… (words that describe your faith right now)

My mind is… (words that describe the condition of your mind)

My body is… (words that describe how your body feels right now)

My soul is… (words that describe the condition of your soul right now).

Oh, how I long for… (what you long for..)

God, I’m trying to let your Love and Hope in, to remember you’re in the midst of it all, showing up in small unexpected ways that are good to notice.

I see you in… (several areas of your life where you are seeing God somehow, some way)

I feel you in… (several areas of your life where you are feeling God somehow, some way)

I hear you in… (several areas of your life where you are hearing God somehow, some way)

I smell you in… (several areas of your life where you might smell God somehow, some way)

I touch you when I touch… (several areas of your life where you are touching God somehow, some way)

Thank you for these gifts. 

Despite all the things I can’t control, I can still cling to this… (one truth that is sustaining you right now)

And for that I am thankful. 

God, please keep sustaining me, sustaining us, as we move into the year ahead. 

I do want to feel your Christmas Peace. 

Amen.

Here’s mine:

Christmas Peace 2016

God, this Christmas I am feeling weary and foggy, off-kilter. 

I realize I have lost hope in some of humanity, and that cuts deep. 

My faith feels renewed, a strange combination of fierce and fragile. 

My mind is muddled. 

My body is moving slowly. 

My soul is tender, tears rising often in unexpected places. 

Oh, how I long for healing and peace for our country, for my friends, for our future. 

God, I’m trying to let your Love and Hope in, to remember you’re in the midst of it all, showing up in small unexpected ways that are good to notice.

I see you in the small acts of kindness, glorious slivers of light in the darkness. 

I feel you in the presence of my puppy–faithful and true, loyal and near. 

I hear you in the strong cry of the oppressed–rising, standing, refusing, calling, forgiving, persisting.  

I smell you in the crispness of winter, the scent of things dying so that new can be born. 

I touch you when I am with my friends, bearing witness to courage, vulnerability, resilience.  

Thank you for these gifts this season. 

Despite all the things I can’t control, I still cling to this–you are in it all, with us, alongside us, below us, behind us, above us, in front of us, Emmanuel, in the thick of it with us.  

And for that I am ever grateful. 

God, please keep sustaining me, sustaining us, as we move into the year ahead. 

I do want to feel your Christmas Peace. 

Amen.

I’ll end with the perfect Anthem for the season, one of my all-time favorite songs–“Ring the bells you still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in” ~ Leonard Cohen

With hope for peace this day-before-Christmas-Eve, Kathy