Prayers at christmas

As we approach the holiday season, we are faced with yet another opportunity to pause in the midst of all the excitement, decorations, and commercialization, to consider again the origin of Christmas–the One whose birth we celebrate. Let’s not forget the true meaning of why we celebrate during this time of year. Celebrate the baby Jesus and trust Him as Savior today.

Reflect on the joy and hope of the holiday season with these Christmas prayers:

  • A Prayer to Keep Christmas Simple
  • A Prayer to Remember What Christmas is All About
  • A Prayer for Peace During Holiday Season
  • Christmas Eve Benediction
  • A Short Prayer of Thanks
  • A Prayer to Keep God at the Center During the Holidays
  • A Prayer for the Merry and Not-So-Merry
  • A Prayer to Re-focus During the Holiday Season
  • A Prayer for the Days After Christmas
  • A Christmas Tree Blessing
  • Lord, Remind Me Prayer
  • Happy Birthday Jesus Prayer

1. A Prayer to Keep Christmas Simple

Dear Lord, don’t let us miss You this Christmas season. Help us to simplify our activities and traditions so we can focus our celebration on Your birth. Thank You for being the Prince of Peace, and I ask You for that supernatural peace to reign in our hearts. Thank You for the simple but life-changing message of Your love for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
~ Melanie Chitwood

2. A Prayer to Remember What Christmas is All About

Lord, I thank You for coming to earth so You could redeem me. When I think of the extent to which You were willing to go in order to save me, it makes me want to shout, to celebrate, and to cry with thankfulness. You love me so much, and I am so grateful for that love. Without You, I would still be lost and in sin. But because of everything You have done for me, today I am free; my life is blessed; Jesus is my Lord; Heaven is my home; and Satan has no right to control me. I will be eternally thankful to You for everything You did to save me! I pray this in Jesus’ name! 
~ Rick Renner

3. A Prayer for Peace During Holiday Season

Lord, in a season when every heart should be happy and light, many of us are struggling with the heaviness of life—burdens that steal the joy right out of our Christmas stockings. Crazy weather disasters strike at unsuspecting areas, ravaging peaceful homes and interrupting the lives of unsuspecting residents. Tragedy arrives as innocent victims suffer, and an inner voice whispers, “Be afraid!” We need your peace, Jesus.

Lord, we still carol the wonderful message, huddled beneath winter caps on snow-covered porches, or from churches, led by enthusiastic musicians or choir members. Yet we confess that our hearts are too often filled with wonder of a different kind: wondering when the bills will be paid, when the terror will stop, when rest will come. Will it ever? Is the message still true?

In a world where worry, not peace, prevails, stir up that good news again. This Christmas, make it real in our hearts. Never have we needed Your joy and peace more than now. Thank You for the gift of Jesus, our Immanuel, the Word made flesh. Forgive us for forgetting—that Your love never changes, never fades, and that You never abandon the purpose for which You came: to save us from our sinful condition, and to give us life eternal, the joy of relationship with a holy God. Your birth—and Your death—sealed Your promise to us forever.

For those whose hearts are battered by sorrow or broken relationships, for those whose lives know only conflict and confusion, for those whose bodies are tired and tested beyond their ability to endure this year—precious Savior, draw them close to You. Let them know You are still the same Jesus who was born of a virgin, not in a hospital but an animal barn, laid in a manger of hay. You are still the One sent by a heavenly Father who offered not condemnation for our sins, but love and forgiveness—and daily, divine fellowship.

We not only need Your peace and joy; Lord, we crave it. You’ve promised rest for the weary, victory for the battle-scarred, peace for the anxious, and acceptance for the broken hearted—not just at Christmas, but every day of every year.

Release the joy in us that’s been crushed by pride, wrong priorities, or world events. Tear down the strongholds that have held us captive far too long. Extinguish the flames of apprehension that rob us of a calm, quiet spirit. Show us again the beauty of that holy night so many centuries ago.

Your name is still called “Wonderful,” “Counselor,” “The Mighty God,” “The Everlasting Father,” and “The Prince of Peace.” As Your children, we cry out for a fresh filling, and a new awareness of Who You are. We choose by faith to make the “good news of great joy” a reality in our own lives, so others can see us as lighted trees of life, pointing to You this Christmas. We know one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that You are Lord. And we also know that peace on earth can only come when hearts find peace with You.

You are still our Joy. You are still our Peace. You are no longer a babe in the manger. You are Lord of lords and King of kings. And we still celebrate You as Lord—this Christmas and always.
~ Rebecca Barlow Jordan

4. Christmas Eve Benediction/Prayer

May you be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the magi, and the peace of the Christ child. Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless you now and forever.

5. A Short Prayer of Christmas Thanks

Thank you God for sending Your Son on one glorious night to be born a virgin, to live a perfect life and to die on the cross for my sins. Thank you that he rose from the dead three days later and that this Christmas and every Christmas we can celebrate the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Amen.

6. A Prayer to Keep God at the Center During the Holidays

Lord, We worship You during this Christmas season. You are our wonderful Counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). We choose to put You at the center of our family life as we celebrate Your birth. Keep us from distractions and help us to invite You into all our family activities. Teach us to pray and help us to glorify and worship You in our family during this busy time of year. Give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation that we might know You better (Ephesians 1:17). Thank you for being Immanuel, “God with us.” Open our eyes to realize this each day as we interact with others. Help us to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as You forgave us (Ephesians 4:32). Show us creative ways to love and care for those outside our home. Fill us to overflowing with Your love for the lost. Teach us to do acts of kindness to those who are in need at this time of year. May our family be a refreshment and light to others. We ask You to touch with salvation those in our family who do not know You . Open their hearts to Your great love for them. Help us to share Your Truth and be Your light. You are the Savior of the world.

We love Your Word and choose to make it central in our family life. Your Word is alive and active—It’s sharper than any double-edged sword—It judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12). We long to align ourselves spiritually with You and Your Word every day. We want to pray your Word with Your authority, and with greater faith and obedience in our lives as we approach this New Year. We rejoice in following Your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. We meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways. We delight in Your decrees. We will not neglect Your Word. Open our eyes that we may see wonderful things in Your law. We run in the path of Your commands, for You have set our hearts free (Psalm 119:14-16, 18, 32).

Lord, we want to be passionate about the things you are passionate about. Help each member of our family to be a student of the Bible. Teach us to pray Your Word out loud in our family devotions in such a way that we see mighty spiritual breakthroughs in our home, friends, school, and workplace. Help us declare prophetic promises and decrees from Your Word. We want to experience the life-giving power of Your Word on a daily basis in our family. Show us truth in Your Word, and bring it to life through our prayers. Open the eyes of our hearts that we may be enlightened in order to know the hope to which You have called us, the riches of our glorious inheritance in You and Your incomparable great power (Ephesians 1:18-19). In Jesus’ name, Amen.

What Child is This? – Luke 2

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord!” Join us this Christmas for an inspiring walk through Luke 2 as we remember the birth of Jesus.

Posted by Crosswalk.com on Monday, December 21, 2015

7. A Prayer for the Merry…and the Not-So-Merry

Father God, We thank You and praise You today for the miracle of Your Son’s birth. Thank You for bringing great JOY to the whole world! Thank You for giving us the assurance that because You came to us in the form of a human, we who believe in Jesus can know with absolute certainty that we’ll spend eternity with You.

We thank You, Lord, for the many reasons we have been given a merry Christmas. And we rejoice for each blessing. New life. New love. A home. A job. New opportunities. Second chances. And more.

We know, Lord, that You bring the sun and the moon and set the stars in motion. You tell the ocean where to stop and the snow when to start. And we thank You for the mighty gift of Your creation.

Thank You, Father, for spiritual leaders and faith-filled friends who keep encouraging us when we are close to giving up.

And although we have many reasons to rejoice today, Lord, we also know December 25th can be not-so-merry for a whole host of reasons. We pray for those who are experiencing loss this Christmas: relational, financial, spiritual and physical.

We pray for those who are coping with loving a prodigal and our friends and family members whose hearts are far from You. We pray for those dealing with unemployment and addictions and chronic sickness … and unending pain and frustrations of all kinds. Thank You, Lord, that You are The Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace, even in the midst of our not-so-merry circumstances.

Finally, Lord, we ask You to grant us peace. Peace in our homes, peace in our churches, and peace in our hearts, when the world all around us spins out-of-control. Help us to stay focused on You, this Christmastime and always. Thank You for loving the whole world enough to send the greatest gift, Your Son, so that we might truly have a very merry Christmas. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
~ Steph Raquel

8. A Prayer to Re-focus During the Holiday Season

Dear God, sometimes I get too caught in the Christmas commercialism. OK, a lot of times. Today, I’m going to refocus my heart and remember why I’m celebrating this wonderful day in the first place. I’m celebrating Jesus today…and every day! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
~ Sharon Jaynes

9. A Prayer for the Days After Christmas

Dear God, Help us to focus on you today, remembering that the gift of Christ, Immanuel, is our most treasured gift for the whole year through. Fill us with your joy and the peace of your Spirit. Direct our hearts and minds towards you. Thank you for your reminder that both in seasons of celebration and in seasons of brokenness, you’re still with us. You never leave us. Thank you for your daily Presence in our lives, that we can be assured your heart is towards us, your eyes are over us, and your ears are open to our prayers. Thank you that you surround us with favor as with a shield, we are safe in your care. We choose to press in close to you today… In Jesus’ name, Amen.
~ Debbie McDaniel

10. A Christmas Tree Blessing (taken from Psalm 96 and Ezekial 17)

Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary. Ascribe to the LORD, all you families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth. Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.” The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity. Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness. – Psalm 96  “‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches. All the trees of the forest will know that I the LORD bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. “ ‘I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.’” – Ezekial 17:22-24

prayers at christmas

11. “Lord, Remind Me” Prayerful Song

When I hear the news and hear another war has begun
And I wonder if God’s on the side of either one
I hear bullet, nail, or handcuff he bore all of them And in the light my heart’s as dark as anyone’s
Lord, remind me
Lord, remind me

That the shepherds heard the angels break the silence in the field
That the wise men found a baby and they could not help but kneel
That the one who heard our weeping, became a child in manger sleeping
Lord, remind me
‘Cause it’s Christmas and I want to remember
~ Jon Guerra

12. Happy Birthday Jesus Prayer

Father, today I celebrate the reality of Your presence in my life. I celebrate Your birth, Your life, Your death, and Your resurrection. And as I celebrate, Lord, help me to be “God with skin on” to those in need around me. Open my eyes and let me see them as You see them! I love You. Happy birthday Jesus! In Jesus name, Amen. 
~ Mary Southerland, Girlfriends in God

prayers at christmas

This article is part of our larger Christmas and Advent resource library centered around the events leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ. We hope these articles help you understand the meaning and story behind important Christian holidays and dates and encourage you as you take time to reflect on all that God has done for us through his son Jesus Christ!

What is Christmas? Understanding History, Origin and Traditions

The Birth of Jesus: Bible Story and Scripture VersesChristmas Bible Verses & Scripture StoryAdvent Wreath and Candles: Understanding the Meaning, History & TraditionAdvent Prayers

www.crosswalk.com

Christmas Prayers

A Prayer of Thanks
Max Lucado

Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son to earth as a baby so many years ago.  Thank you that He paid the punishment for my sins by dying on the cross.  And thank you that He rose again to prove that death was truly defeated. I place my trust in You to be my Savior. Guide me through the dark times of my life and give me courage to live for You.  Amen

Opening Prayer for Christmas Eve Service
Rev. Dr. Sean B. Murray

Gracious, loving and merciful God, on this Christmas Eve, as the light of your Word penetrates our hearts, as we are reminded of the gift of life and faith, as the glories of the heavenly hosts are echoed in our church, we open ourselves up to your Spirit and give you thanks.   We are grateful, Lord Jesus, that your story has become our story, and we celebrate your birth.to take to heart the wonder of your love, that we may walk in your ways and delight in your will. Help us, Lord God, to be the faithful, gracious, loving, giving and forgiving people you would have us be.

Check out our Christmas Section

Lord Jesus,
Please forgive me for being so grumpy as I trudge through the never-ending tasks set before me this holiday season…

My to-do list seems to keep growing with shopping, church services, and family gatherings—

and I’m running short of time!

Restore the joy of Christmas to my heart . . .

and help me to relax each day and make time for

YOU–

my one true Source of Joy.

Coping with Loneliness at Christmas!

A Prayer for Christmas Morning
-by Henry van Dyke.

The day of joy returns, Father in Heaven, and crowns another year with peace and good will.
Help us rightly to remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men.
Close the doors of hate and open the doors of love all over the world?
Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil, by the blessing that Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clean hearts.
May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children,
And the Christmas evening bring us to our bed with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus? sake.
Amen

The Story of the Birth of Jesus Christ

A Christmas Prayer

Jesus, the Light of the World, as we celebrate your birth . . . . may we begin to see the world in the light of the understanding you give us.  As you chose the lowly, the outcasts, and the poor to receive the greatest news the world had ever known, so may we worship you in meekness of heart.  May we also remember our brothers and sisters less fortunate than ourselves in this season of giving.  Amen.

THANK YOU, LORD,

for the gift of Your love.

May I be a shining

example of that love to others.

Amen.

A CHRISTMAS BLESSING
Wilda English,  n.d.

God grant you the light of Christmas,
which is faith;
the warmth of Christmas,
which is purity;
the righteousness of Christmas,
which is justice;
the belief in Christmas,
which is truth;
the all of Christmas,
which is Christ?.

thoughts-about-god.com

Providence, R.I.

BACK when I was 8 or 9 and wanted to be a nun, I would often stop at church on my way home from school. The school sat across the street from two churches: St. Joseph’s, which we called the French church, and Sacred Heart, which is where my family went. Sacred Heart was built by and for Italian immigrants, an odd pale stucco building in the midst of rundown mill houses. I would enter and let my eyes adjust from the bright afternoon light to the dim interior. The smell of incense and candles burning permeated everything, and I liked to stand still for a moment and breathe it in before I dipped my hand into the holy water in the marble aspersorium. My wet fingers made the sign of the cross as I made my slow, reverential way down the worn maroon carpet to the altar.

I prayed a lot in those days. For straight A’s, which I got without God’s help. For a friend, since I was a lonely, peculiar child who had trouble making friends. For my father to come home from Cuba, where he was based with the Seabees. For a real Christmas tree, instead of the fake silver one with pompom tips my mother put up in my father’s absence.

These prayers were fervent, desperate. But when I went to church alone on those long-ago afternoons, I prayed just for the sake of comfort, for the peace it brought me. Sometimes a nun might appear in her habit and allow me to scrape the melted candle wax from the marble. I imagined, briefly, a life of devotion like that. A swishing black dress and a giant wooden crucifix swinging from my rosary beads.

That fantasy disappeared eventually, along with the ritual of churchgoing. I didn’t get the same sense of peace at Sunday Mass. For reasons I can’t remember, my family eventually stopped attending church, and I started questioning the Catholic Church’s beliefs. I dabbled a little, but nothing stuck.

So I was surprised when I was struck with a desire to go to church earlier this month. Not a Mass, but inside a church, where I might pray quietly and alone. In my adult life, I had spent a lot of time angry at God, mostly over the sudden deaths in my family — my brother at 30, my daughter at 5. This year we’d suffered another sudden loss, a favorite aunt killed in a car accident. Why on this December afternoon I felt the need to check in with God, I cannot say. Maybe a conversation with a friend who spoke about going to church when her daughter was ill, or maybe the appearance of Christmas lights and decorations around town.

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Whatever the reason, I walked to a Catholic church a few blocks from my home in Providence. The afternoon was chilly. Boughs of evergreen draped across the wrought-iron gate. I climbed the steps to the front door and pulled. Locked. I walked around to the side. Then the other side. Then the back. All locked. There were other churches, I thought. Plenty of them.

Photo

Credit Loren Capelli

I went home and got in my car and drove from church to church to church. All of them were locked. With each locked door, my need to get inside and pray grew. I felt it was imperative, that if a person needed to go to church and pray, she should be able to do that. All the things I wanted to pray about washed over me. I wanted to explain to God why I’d been so angry. I wanted to apologize for things I’d done wrong. I wanted to put in a good word for my son, and for my daughter, and for my mother’s health, and for a dozen other things. But six, then seven churches were locked.

When I told my husband, he looked confused. I was not a religious person, after all. “It’s expensive to keep them open,” he, the churchgoer in our family, explained. “But what about truly desperate people?” I insisted. “It’s probably not safe to keep them open like that,” he said. Then he added, “Maybe in bigger cities?”

The next day, I was in New York City. The weather had turned as warm as spring, and after a lunch in Midtown I decided to take a walk. The mild temperature made me forget that it was Christmastime, and I was surprised to see a line of people in front of Saks Fifth Avenue waiting to see its window displays. I joined them. Then I crossed the street to stare up at the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center and smile at the white angels blowing their trumpets in front of it.

As I turned to walk to the subway, a sign caught my eye: ST. PATRICK’S IS OPEN. I read it again. ST. PATRICK’S IS OPEN. Although I quickly realized the sign was there because of all the scaffolding around the church, I still couldn’t help but feel that it was also there just for me.

A church that was open! I crossed the street and went inside. The grandeur of St. Patrick’s is nothing like the little stucco church of my childhood in West Warwick, R.I. And even on a Tuesday afternoon, it was crowded with tourists. But the candles flickered, and the smell of wax and incense filled me. I dipped my fingers in the holy water, and walked slowly up the long center aisle to the altar. Around me, people snapped pictures of the manger with their phones. A woman holding a baby in a Santa suit rushed past me. When I got to the front pew, I lowered the kneeler, and I knelt. I bowed my head and I prayed.

In the years since I’d done this simple act in church, I have prayed at home and in hospital waiting rooms. I have prayed for my daughter to live, for the bad news to not be true, for strength in the face of adversity. I have prayed with more desperation than a person should feel. I have prayed in vain.

This prayer, though, was different. It was a prayer from my girlhood, a prayer for peace and comfort and guidance. It was a prayer of gratitude. It was a prayer that needed to be done in church, in a place where candles flicker and statues of saints look down from on high; where sometimes, out of nowhere, the spiritually confused can still come inside and kneel and feel their words might rise up and be heard.

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www.nytimes.com

The Church’s liturgical year begins with the season of Advent. It begins on the Sunday closest to November 30 and ends with the Christmas Vigil Mass. In Advent, a time of joyful expectation, we focus on and prepare for the remembrance of Jesus’ first coming in Bethlehem and His Second Coming at the end of time.

  • Prayer to Obtain Favors (St. Andrew Christmas Novena)
  • Prayer to St. Nicholas
  • Advent Prayer
  • Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • Prayer to St. Lucy
  • O Antiphons
  • Blessing of a Christmas Crèche or Manger Scene
  • Christmas Prayers

Prayer to Obtain Favors (St. Andrew Christmas Novena)

Prayer from 1897 that may be prayed numerous times a day from the Feast of St. Andrew on November 30 until Christmas.

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires (mention your intentions here), through the merits of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother.
Amen.

Prayer to St. Nicholas

God, our Father,
we pray that through the intercession of St. Nicholas
you will protect our children.
Keep them safe from harm
and help them grow and become worthy in your sight.
Give them strength to keep their faith in you;
and to keep alive their joy in your creation.
Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
Amen.

(The feast day of St. Nicholas is December 6.)

Advent Prayer

By Henri J.M. Nouwen

Lord Jesus,
Master of both the light and the darkness,
send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, “Come, Lord Jesus!”
Amen.

Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego near Mexico City in 1531 and left her image on his cloak. She is Patron of the Americas. Feast Day: December 12.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, mystical Rose, make intercession for our Holy Church, protect the Pope, help all those who invoke you in their necessities, and since you are the ever Virgin Mary and Mother of the true God, obtain for us from your most Holy Son, the grace of keeping our faith, sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life, burning charity, and the precious gift of final perseverance.
Amen.

Prayer to St. Lucy

Relying on Your goodness, O God, we humbly ask you, by the intercession of your servant, Saint Lucy, to give perfect vision to our eyes, that we may serve for your greater honor and glory. And we pray for the salvation of our souls in this world, that we may come to the enjoyment of the unfailing light of the Lamb of God in heaven.

St. Lucy, virgin and martyr, hear our prayers and answer our petitions. Amen.

O Antiphons

Prayed each day at the Magnificat of Evening Prayer from December 17 to December 24. Authors unknown, these prayers are from the ninth century or older. Visit our O Antiphons page for more.

December 17:
O Wisdom, O holy Word of God,
you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care.
Come and show your people the way to salvation.

December 18:
O sacred Lord of ancient Israel,
who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush,
who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain:
Come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.

December 19:
O Flower of Jesse’s stem,
you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples;
kings stand silent in your presence;
the nations bow down in worship before you.
Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.

December 20:
O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel
controlling at your will the gate of heaven:
Come, break down the prison walls of death
for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death;
and lead your captive people into freedom.

December 21:
O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light,
sun of justice:
Come, shine on those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death.

December 22:
O King of all the nations,
the only joy of every human heart;
O Keystone of the mighty arch of humankind,
Come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.

December 23:
O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver,
desire of all the nations,
Savior of all people,
Come and set us free, Lord our God.

Christmas

At Christmas, December 25, we celebrate the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary. The Christmas Season begins with the Vigil Mass of Christmas and ends with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord.

Blessing of a Christmas Crèche or a Manger Scene

All make the Sign of the Cross.

The leader begins: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

All respond: Who made heaven and earth.

The leader may use these or similar words to introduce the blessing: We are at the beginning of the days of Christmas. All through the season we will look on these images of sheep and cattle, of shepherds, of Mary and Joseph and Jesus.

Then the Scripture is read: Listen to the words of the holy gospel according to Luke:

Read Luke 2:1-7.

The reader concludes: The gospel of the Lord.

All respond: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

The figures may be placed in the crèche. After a time of silence, all join in prayers of intercession and in the Lord’s Prayer. Then the leader invites: Pray now for God’s blessing as we look on these figures.

After a short silence, the leader prays: God of every nation and people,

from the very beginning of creation
you have made manifest your love:
when our need for a Savior was great,
you sent your Son to be born of the Virgin Mary.
To our lives he brings joy and peace,
justice, mercy and love.
Lord,
bless all who look upon this manger;
may it remind us of the humble birth of Jesus
and raise our thoughts to him.
who is God-with-us and Savior of all,
and who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

Or:

God of Mary and Joseph, of shepherds and animals,
bless us whenever we gaze on this manger scene.
Through all the days of Christmas
may these figures tell the story
of how humans, angels, and animals
found the Christ in this poor place.
Fill our house with hospitality, joy, gentleness, and thanksgiving.
and guide our steps in the way of peace.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

The leader says:
Let us bless the Lord.

All respond, making the Sign of the Cross. Thanks be to God.

Christmas songs and carols are then sung. (A prominently placed manger scene during Christmas teaches the true meaning of the holiday: the coming of Christ as man to free us from the power of death. The above blessing is done  on Christmas or Christmas Eve when most families add the Baby Jesus to the crèche.)

Christmas Prayer

By Gerard Manley Hopkins

Moonless darkness stands between.
Past, the Past, no more be seen!
But the Bethlehem star may lead me
To the sight of Him who freed me
From the self that I have been.
Make me pure, Lord: Thou art holy;
Make me meek, Lord: Thou wert lowly;
Now beginning, and always,
Now begin, on Christmas day.
Christmas Novena
Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment
At which the Son of God was born
Of a most pure Virgin
At a stable at midnight in Bethlehem
In the piercing cold
At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee,
To hear my prayers and grant my desires

(mention your request here). Through Jesus Christ and His most blessed Mother.

Prayer for Christmas

(Attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux)

Let your goodness, Lord, appear to us, that we, made in your image, may conform ourselves to it. In our own strength we cannot image your majesty, power and wonder; nor is it fitting for us to try. But your mercy reaches from the heavens, through the clouds, to the earth below. You have come to us as a small child, but you have brought us the greatest of all gifts, the gift of your eternal love. Caress us with your tiny hands, embrace us with your tiny arms, and pierce our hearts with your soft, sweet cries.

Excerpted from A Catholic Family Prayer Book, Copyright  © 2001 Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc. All rights reserved. Order here

www.osv.com

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