Creighton University's Online Ministries

Praying Christmas

Christmas falls on Thursday this year, so Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are the only days in the fourth week of Advent.  In addition to the reflection for the days immediately preceding Christmas, we decided to offer some reflections and prayers for entering into Christmas itself, with deep faith.  Since all religious experience is "prepared for," we hope this site will help with our conscious preparation for the graces God will be offering us in the special days before us.

Asking for the Grace We Desire

Too often we come up to Christmas eve and Christmas day, as well as the days after, with little or no time for formal prayer at all.  Every moment, it seems, is filled with some preparation, some tradition, having people over to our house or going to others' homes.  Even those of us who are home bound or those of us who might be alone these days sometime have difficulty "getting to" the heart of the Gift offered us these days.

This year, let's ask for the grace or graces we desire.  We may have many desires swirling around inside, or we may feel so fragmented that we don't know what we desire.  Check out our Desires Page, for words that might help us with words to name our own desires.

Keeping Focused in the "Background"

The key to finding intimacy with God in the midst of each of our activities is to go through our day with an awareness of what it all means.  With focus and a conscious attention to our desires, we can maintain an alive "background," even while rushing somewhere, opening packages, eating dinner or avoiding a conflict. 

For example, while driving to a family dinner or while preparing a meal - even though there might be music on or other conversation happening around me - I can take brief moments to "collect" who I am and why I'm here and what I desire for this moment in this day.  In a few simple deep breaths, I can say, "O Lord, as you came into our world to share our lives, please come into this day and give us peace.  Please bless me, my family and friends at this meal with a little more love.  I hand over to you my anxieties and fears, as I ask you for your own peace."  The Christmas Prayers linked in the Resources column offer ways to turn to God through the normal activities of our days.  Our hope is that by reading these prayer suggestions, we might more easily use our own words in similar situations throughout our day.

Letting Rituals and Gestures Be Open to Grace

Hopefully, we will be able to celebrate the Eucharist or some common prayer with our faith community.  Let's let that celebration be richly open to grace, with our attention and prayer.  With focused attention, we can let many very ordinary parts of our days become prayerful and rich with grace.  Imagine how different this Christmas would be if we let every handshake, touch on the arm, every hug, every kiss be a few brief seconds to turn to God in thanksgiving and with a prayer.  "Thank you so much for Ann; she is such a gift. Please give her your freedom and peace."  "Bill is such a wonderful partner. Please fill our marriage with faith, generosity and self-sacrificing love."  "Lord, you know the struggles I have with Kathy; let me be as compassionate and loving with her as you are."  In these or similar brief prayers, our very ordinary gestures of greeting might be transformed and full of faith.  Any other activity can become a ritual, if I let it have meaning: turning on the Christmas tree lights, ("Lord, let your Light brighten this house this day."), opening the front door to guests, ("Lord, we open our house and our hearts to the gifts you bring us."), sitting down after a big meal, ("Lord, I feel full, in so many ways; thank you.").

And Giving Thanks at the End

At the end of our day, perhaps as we take off our clothes, or just as we get into bed, we can give thanks for the wonder of God's gift to us in the coming of Jesus into our world, and for the graces that came to us through his coming to us today.


Desires Page
Words to help us name our desires.

Christmas Prayers
"In these or similar words" we can turn to God in so many ways.

A Reflection on the Manger
The heart of Christmas is how he came.  And, it can help is in the most difficult parts of our lives, if we stop to reflect on the manger.

Praying with the Aftermath of Christmas
How to pray through some difficult times on Christmas.

Today you will know the Lord is coming, and in the morning you will see his glory.
- Invitatory, Morning Prayer, Christmas Eve

Come, Lord Jesus,
do not delay;
give new courage to your people who trust in your love.

- Morning Prayer, Christmas Eve

The Eternal Word,
born of the Father before time began, today emptied himself for our sake and became one of us.

- Antiphon, Evening Prayer, Christmas Eve

You came into the world heralding the new age foretold by the prophets,
-  give your holy people the gift of renewal in every generation.

You once took on the weakness of our human condition,
- be light now for those who do not see, strength for the wavering  and comfort for the troubled of heart.

You were born into poverty and lowliness,
-  look with favor on the poor and comfort them.

By your birth bring joy to all peoples with the promise of unending life,
-  give joy to the dying through the hope of heavenly birth.

You came to earth to lead everyone into the kingdom,
-  share your life of glory with those who have died.

God our Father,
every year we rejoice as we look forward to this feast of our salvation.  May we welcome Christ as our Redeemer, and meet him with confidence when he comes to be our judge, who lives and reigns with you and Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

- Intercession, Christmas Eve

Almighty God and Father of light,
a child is born for us
and a son is given to us.
Your eternal Word leaped down from heaven in the silent watches of the night, and now your Church is filled with wonder at the nearness of our God.
Open our hearts to receive his life and increase our vision with the rising of dawn, that our lives may be filled with his glory and his peace.

-  Morning Prayer, Christmas Day
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