I pray today Lord, for those people who will not be able to afford any celebration this Christmas. Help them to know that celebrating in worship is the most crucial activity and devotion to Jesus is more important that splashing out with expensive gifts. I ask in Jesus – AMEN.
I pray Lord for those families who will find that this Christmas season brings pangs of loneliness and the ache of separation. Let it be a time when family ties are strengthened, old friendships are renewed and cemented, and hope is reborn. I ask it in the name of Christ – AMEN.
Lord, may the Christian community throughout the world spread the message of peace on earth this Christmastide. Where there is war, prompt them to make plans for peace. Where there is poverty help them to take steps that will lead to plenty. In Jesus’ name I pray – AMEN.
“He came to his own country, but his own people did not receive him”.
Jn 1:11 GNB
It is one of the tragedies of history that the people called “God’s people” turned their backs on God’s Son when God sent him to them. Those special people were referred to as “God’s treasured possession” in Exodus 19:5 (NIV) and elsewhere.
“When Jesus came he came to a land which was peculiarly God’s land and a people who were peculiarly God’s people. He ought to have been coming to a nation that would welcome him with open arms; the door should have been wide open for him; he should have been welcomed like a wayfarer coming home; or, even more, like a king coming to his own – and he was rejected. He was welcomed with rejection and not with adoration.
Here there is the tragedy of a people being prepared for a task, and then refusing that task. It may be that in this life parents plan and save and sacrifice to give a son or a daughter a chance in life, to prepare that son or daughter for some special task or opportunity – and then when the chance comes, the one for whom so much sacrifice was made refuses to grasp the opportunity or fails miserably when confronted with the challenge. Therein is trag- edy. And that is what happened to God” (W. Barclay, The Gospel of John, p39).
As we celebrate Christmas with joy and with gratitude to God, let us never forget the tragedy of Christ’s coming – and the sadness that those who should and could have given him “a right royal welcome” didn’t. Christian disciples should never stop praying for the people who passed Jesus by – and whom most still do.
Lord, thank you for the priceless gift of your only Son.
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