So we bring our prayers before God our heavenly Father:
We give thanks for this festive time, and the joy that it brings to so many.
We give thanks for birth and new life.
We give thanks for end-of-term school Christmas concerts,
for the change of the work routine, and the opportunity to spend time with family and friends.
We give thanks for candles and carols, for readings and reminiscing, for warm drinks and warm welcomes.
Good Lord, we bring you our thanks and praise.
We pray for those who find the season hard, through isolation and loneliness.
For those who have more friends on Facebook than people who speak to them in a year; Lord draw close to them.
For acquaintances formed in cyberspace, who offer personal support and become answers to our prayers with their timely interactions and comments; Lord we give you thanks.
In this season of journeying, we pray for all those who travel
to be with others, to be in special places.
We pray for all those involved in the travel industry, facilitating our getting to where we want to be.
We pray for journeying mercies; and remember those whose travel becomes impossible, and destinations unreachable. Lord keep them safe
We pray for those who have no-where to go, and like the Holy Family of old, are now searching for shelter and warmth.
We pray for those made homeless through economic recession,
and caught up in the ravages of war. Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us.
For those who are sick, and for those undergoing treatment. For all who bring God’s healing, through prayer and pastoral support; through medical expertise. We remember those who await a clear diagnosis and effective treatment. He pray for those who suffer alone, with no one to care for them. Healing Lord, we pray for your touch.
For those caught up in bereavement at this time of year, especially those having lost loved ones suddenly and unexpectedly;
For those sitting and praying with the dying,
For those coping with their first Christmas without a loved one;
For those who have died unnoticed and un-prayed for;
For those who have died violently;
Prince of Peace, bring you peace that is beyond human understanding.
At this season of endings and beginnings, of looking back and looking forward,
Lord send us your Spirit that we may look fearlessly to the future,
Strong in your strength.
And now we ask for God’s blessing upon us:
May the joy of the angels,
the eagerness of the shepherds,
the perseverance of the wise men,
the obedience of Joseph and Mary,
and the peace of the Christ-child be yours this Christmas;
and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with you and all those you love and pray for, today and always. Amen.