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Justice Prayers - A Prayer for Christmas Vision in 2020

Merry Christmas from the Center for Public Dialogue and the Office of Social Justice as you reflect on joy during the fourth week of advent. 

Poet Malcolm Guite writes, “Christmas sets the centre at the edge/and from this day our world is re-aligned/a tiny seed unfolding in the womb/becomes the source from which we all unfold/and flower into being.  We are healed.”*

For us all, in this Christmas season after this year, we pray for eyes and ears to grasp this vision of The Centre at the edges of the world.  And to likewise be re-aligned, transformed, and for the wounds in our world to be healed.  

We pray for eyes and ears to grasp this vision of The Centre at the edges of the world. 

Like Zechariah, we’ve been told how God will work and where God will work.  And like Zechariah, we guffaw at the thought.  We think we know how such things work.  May we and all our assumptions be silenced, like Zechariah, so that we can finally start to witness what God is already doing and get on board.  

Like Elizabeth, we do not know how God will do this work – it makes no sense –too many things would have to change – too many hearts would have to change.  It is too hard and we are too tired.  And yet this sort of life from impossible situations seems to be God’s favorite work and this sort of surprise seems to be the best sort of joy – may we know this kind of joy.

Like Mary, we are not especially equipped, but we have been invited to join in.  We have glimpsed a vision of God bringing down the mighty and lifting up the humble and for some reason we have said yes.  But it’s hard and hidden work that has consequences.  May we be given that treasure-holding capacity of heart, to stay the course and hold the outcomes with open hands.  May we love, like a good mother, the real people and presence God brings.  

We know it is the way to New Life. 

Like Joseph, we face the misunderstandings of many of our own people.  The call to walk a different way than the world, a different way than maybe our own family expects of us.  Speak to us in dreams, assuring us in our deepest selves  of the veracity of your call on our lives – it is hard but it is your way and so we know it is the way to New Life.  

Like the Shepherds, we are told of great joy.  We are witnesses to a beauty, possibility and a Presence that we did not know was there.   May we, even if we have been pushed to the sides, see this beauty.  May we listen to those who have said they’ve seen this beauty.  And may we be given that energy to run in wonder towards the least likely places where God has said he’d be.  

Like Simeon, we wait to see the Christ, the saving, the coming of restoration, the consolation.   And like him, may we see the Christ before our own eyes, in places and people not judged to be appropriate,  and be able to exclaim this light revealed.  

May we know God’s nearness, even at the edges, as this One did.

Like dear, dear Anna, we hold vigil for that which we seek.  We come to the presence of the Lord, year and year, day after day, and we worship and trust, and fast and pour our longings to God.   May we, when we see the Lord, know it.  May our years of vigil clarify our sight and tune our ears to hear it when God’s Saving One is right before us. 

This Jewish child, this refugee king, this baby whose parents not many believed, is the one we seek to know, the one who seeks to heal us and the one who moves the Centre to the Edge and thus re-aligns the world.  

May this Christmas we hear these old stories anew. May we know God’s nearness, even at the edges, as this One did.   May we hear the promise, and the means by which God reconciles all things.  May we join in where called, act humbly when called, stay the course when called, act boldly when called and trust in the work of shalom for all humankind. 


Be Near your earth Lord Jesus, we ask thee to stay

Close by us, forever, love us, we pray.

Bless all your dear children, in your tender care,

And fit us for your kingdom to live with you here.

 *excerpt from On the Edge from Sounding the Seasons: Seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year

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