As a child, on the first day of December I would receive an advent calendar. Each day up to December 25, I opened a little door on the calendar to reveal a Christmas image inside. If the idea was to focus on the lead up to the birth of Christ, then it was wasted on me. My excitement was only the countdown to unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning.
We know that the Christmas season should be more than the gift-opening, gift-giving, and the commercialism that we so easily get caught up in. So, with these four prayers, I am giving us the opportunity to pause and ponder on all that we have to celebrate with the birth of Christ. These 60-SECOND CHRISTMAS PRAYERS will only take a few moments of your time but will have significance for eternity.
PRAYER ONE: WAITING WITH HOPE
That day a man named Simeon…was in the Temple. He was…expecting the Messiah to come soon…When Mary and Joseph arrived to present the baby Jesus to the Lord…Simeon was there and took the child in his arms, praising God…“For I have seen him as you promised me I would. I have seen the Savior you have given to the world.” Luke 2:25-31
As Simeon breathed in the sweet smells of the new baby and felt the warmth of Jesus’ body in his arms, no wonder his heart leapt with joy. Simeon’s waiting had not been in vain. As you reflect on this moment in the story of Christ’s birth, let the purpose of waiting fill you with renewed expectation. For we are reminded that waiting on God is not futile but filled with certainty. God has many good promises he will bring about both for your life now and the life to come.
PRAYER TWO: SWADDLED WITH LOVE
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. John 3:16-17 MSG
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2 NIV
Today, ponder on God’s pure love — for you and me, for your family and friends, for those you pass in the street. Even though our world is corrupt and dark, with many living unaware of God’s perfect love, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.
The baby bundled in a manger in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago is the outpouring of God’s love. The gift of his only Son is the ultimate greatness of his love.
This is true love. True love doesn’t point the finger, criticizing and condemning us when we trip up. True love provides a way that is powerful and perfect so we no longer need to stumble in darkness but can live a life that is lasting and full of light.
Jesus brings to light the intensity of God’s love. Say the prayer below:
PRAYER THREE – FINDING JOY
Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days. The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy!…And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Isaiah 35:1-2a, 5-6a NLT
John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen—the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” Matthew 11:2-5 NLT
What a beautiful image Isaiah creates of the promise of new strength for those weary from being stuck in desert-like times. Can you picture the blossoming of the flowers — the surprising joy of seeing them break through a parched land?
And as John sat alone in the squalor and gloominess of a prison cell, he too needed encouragement for the journey. “Are you the one?” He asked. Jesus replied with proof of the joy he brings — mingling with ordinary people, having compassion on their physical and spiritual needs, and showing love instead of dispensing condemnation. He reassured John that joy comes to those who trust in him. “How happy are those who have no doubts about me!” He said. (Matthew 11:6 GNT)
Whatever area of your life has left you weary and discouraged in this Christmas season, take a moment to ask God to break through your sadness to know gladness, and to turn your despair into joy as you trust in him.