We praise you for your ever-present joy and grace with us. For the ways in which you first offered yourself to us in the infant Christ, we offer thanks. When you came to as as Jesus, as Emmanuel, God-with-us, you promised to be with us always, not simply for a season, and so for the ways continue to offer yourself to us as the resurrected Christ, we also give thanks and our utmost praise. You are the best gift that we could ever receive, and we pray that we would continue to delight and rejoice in you daily.
God, we pray that in the flurry to get Christmas decorations packed away, to clean our homes from clutter of wrapping parer and ribbons and cleanse our bodies of cookies and casseroles, we pray that we will make certain not to put away the hope, love, joy, and peace that we found at the manger this year. Rather, we pray that the holiness we found in our Advent and Christmas worship will take root, grow, and deepen in the coming months. And so even as twinkling lights and advent candles are packed away until next year, we give thanks for the ways you continue to shine light into our hearts and lives. Help us remember on this first Sunday of Christmas, that we are invited to sit a while longer in the holy and tender light of your nativity. Allow us to make space in our hearts and homes for you to come and abide with us in new and transformative ways. And then also remind us: that as gently as you came into the world, and as gently as you so often tend to our needs, you are a God of strength and the only source of true power in creation. You called the world into being out of nothing, and you are not finished creation and changing and shaping us or your world.
O God, your creation cries out for transformation. As the cheerful bustle of Christmas celebrations quiets back into every day rhythms of life, we hear again the pleading voices of those in need of your grace and our love. There are so many corners of the world and in our hearts where greed and a lust for power are the loudest voices. So fill us with your Holy Spirit that we might proclaim words of grace, compassion, and justice into the void of sinfulness. And where we have contributed to the grip that sin has on the world, either by our own acts of greed and pride or by our cowardice to speak out, we ask for your forgiveness.
Assure us that through Christ we have been forgive and justified before you, and that we have also been called to live into the joy of our salvation by revealing your love to the world. Show us the places where you are waiting to use our hands and voices to transform the communities around us. We invite your holy presence to speak into our hearts until we are bold enough to speak your gospel into the world around us. God, we pray that we would experience you daily as Emmanuel, that in everything we would feel your encouragement and power behind us as we work to bring into fullness the Kingdom you established on Christmas.