A prayer of the hurting at Christmas

Jesus,

Here we are again, approaching the day of your birth. We’re thinking of that hushed and holy night, imagining ourselves under the legions of angels singing of peace, kneeling in the dark of the poor place where you came to us.

Here we are again, Jesus, and if we have comfort from singing and joy from lighting the candles, it is because we know the end of the story. We know that first sacred night began the journey of our healing.

But truth be told, Jesus, if we do have comfort and joy, we have tears too. We have weariness and sorrow. Some of us are holding out empty hands with nothing to offer but our hurt. Some of us are clenching our fists. Jesus, some of us long with all our hearts to rejoice. Some of us cannot even feel that longing. We may know the end of the story, but we grieve because we are still here, still waiting in the dark. We wonder how many silent nights there will be, how many Christmases we must endure until the fullness of your joy takes the pain away.

The miracle is that you are still here, too. Just as on that first night, you come among us, and you show us the way as we stumble to find you in the darkness with nothing at all to give you. You let us come—dirty, poor, wounded, and afraid—and you invite us to sit in the holy.

You announced yourself to us in the dark. You didn’t push back the blackness with the blazing sunlight of your victory (that comes later). For now, you came right on into the night with the brightness of a star and the glory of angels, not destroying the darkness, but taking your place in it. A promise shining in the night. I am here.

And so we come to you, Jesus, once again. We sit in the darkness made holy by your love. Even if sorrow is all we have to give you, we can pour it out like gold at your feet, because our tears are precious to you. You gather them like treasure. We can offer our pain as worship, a proof that we are still here. Still with you.

You lit the night with the star of your love, and we will light our feeble candles in response. We will hold tightly to that little flame, even if that is all we can do. We will sit here with you in this silent night and wait. You have come among us. It is enough.

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