Like many families, my husband and I alternate family holidays: Thanksgiving with the in-laws and Christmas with my family this year, then next year it will flip and so on and so forth.
Although Christmas is special no matter which side of the family we spend it with, I must admit that I am always a bit more excited when it's my family's year for Christmas. I guess, because it's comfortable and familiar. My dad will make multiple trips to the grocery store on Christmas Eve because he'll remember a snack he absolutely must have or some weird new flavor of coffee he wants to try. My mom will be baking all kinds of meats and sweets and I'll be right beside her. My brother will be making jokes and singing songs while dancing and stealing small bites of food from the kitchen, my sister-in-law will be helping in the kitchen and chatting away about some lovely idea or the latest good book she read, while my husband horses around with our daughter and simultaneously keep up with the football scores.
It's a wonderful thing to be around loving people and familiar places for the holidays, but what happens when someone is missing? What happens when the whole family isn't present?
This year, my brother and my sister-in-law didn't make it to Charlotte. 2018 was a busy year full of work travel for them. Sometimes, both of them would be traveling in different cities for work, multiple times a week! They were exhausted and so decided to spend their holiday together in Texas and take advantage of the down time and a slower pace together. Who can fault them for that? But quite honestly, I was disappointed. I wanted them here with us.
I'm sure my absent family members isn't the only case. So many of us won't be able to spend Christmas with our whole family, either. Maybe they live too far away. Maybe you live too far away. Maybe some of them have gone on to be with the Lord. It's sad, because we miss them, but Christmas is a time for joy and peace and I believe, no matter the distance in location or in our hearts, we can each still celebrate this beautiful season, even if it's not complete with the one's we love because the ONE who loves us is always near and He is why we celebrate.
As we prepare our hearts and our homes for Christmas, here are a few beautiful Christmas prayers we can ponder as we give thanks for our family and friends, both near and far.
A Christmas Prayer of Rememberance
we praise You for the Christmas season, and the remembrance of Jesus’ glorious birth! You remind us in Isaiah of the powerful namesake that came to earth for us. He could not be described by just one name or in one way …yet, He is the One who holds the key to our peace and our freedom.
Thank You for setting Him here to pursue us. Thank You for the traditions that we treasure enough to miss, and those that we are blessed to continue celebrating. Forgive us for revolving Christmas around anything but Jesus. Unearth the routines that threaten to trip us in pursuit of You, and open our eyes to recognize what matters the most.
Be with us this Christmas, Jesus. Open our eyes and our hearts to see you in a fresh, new way, whether in the midst of time-honored traditions or fresh new ways to celebrate Your birth. In Jesus' name, Amen.
A Christmas Prayer of Thanks and Fellowship
We praise You for friendship and family! Thank You for bringing us together on Christmas day to share a meal and memories together. The people in our lives bring us such joy, and we are grateful for time spent in fellowship together. Thank you God for sending Your Son 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. We gather today to celebrate all that you have blessed us with. May we turn our hearts toward you today and bless our time together during this meal. Help us use this time to bond closer, forgive freely and to learn to love each other more, as you do. Bless our love for one another and lead us to honor You in all we do.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
A Prayer to Put Jesus First at Christmas
Help us to keep our focus first on Christ this season. Please forgive us for giving too much time and attention on other things. Help us to reflect again, on what Christmas is really all about. Thank you that you came to give new life, peace, hope, and joy. Thank you that your power is made perfect in our weakness. Help us to remember that the gift of Christ, Immanuel, is our greatest treasure, not just at Christmas, but 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. For you never leave us. Thank you for your daily powerful 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, and we are safe in your care. We choose to press in close to you today…and keep you first in our hearts and lives. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
~ Debbie McDaniel
Merry Christmas friends!
May your families be blessed by love, laughter, and hearts filled with thankfulness, and may your New Year be filled with the hope and peace of Christ's unfailing love!
Until next year, ladies!
Blessings for your hearts!