A prayer given at Hope College’s Christmas Vespers service, December 2013 in Holland, MI.
Eternal God of Peace,
we pause now, between notes,
in reflective repose to rededicate
ourselves to your Gift–
the Gift that silences our voices
and invites a posture of
attentive wonder and awe.
We thank you for the gift of this child,
Jesus, the Christ, Israel’s Promise, the world’s Messiah;
He is the gift that is answer
to our deepest need.
For until we received the Light from true Light,
we walked in darkness–
even with eyes open, we couldn’t see.
We stumbled, and we scraped our knee.
Arms outstretched, we felt our way through the world,
trusting only our dull sense,
our dark reason,
our curved-in desire,
and the cramped cul-de-sac
of our experience.
We were desperate for a path out of ourselves,
that we might explore a way into Your larger world
where majesty is for all to see,
in the light of Your risen Son
whose glory never flees.
This Son is Your revelation in creation.
He is divine presence,
Infinite with finite breath;
He is Promise, and fulfillment.
He is creation’s source,
as well as salvation’s end.
For he is not only the way,
he is also the destination.
This Son is the Word directly from you,
Your presence so tangible we can feel his flesh;
His eyes ancient as they are new;
He is Your Word so personal
that He is the tender kiss
between heaven and earth.
He is the Light darkness cannot overcome;
He is the grace that perfects our reason;
He is the being that shatters all analogy;
For in the mystery of incarnation–
in the wonderful exchange–
his flesh takes our flesh,
his heart breaks that he might opens our hearts,
His blood spills so our bloodshed may cease.
His coming put in motion
Your grace that gives our salvation the energy
that powers the eternal hope
that illuminates the world.
For on Christmas day
He is given to us wrapped so small,
but when unpacked on Easter morn,
tears open for the world Your gift
of eternal life for all.
For this precious gift,
how can we say thank you
but to dedicate our lives back you?
To dedicate ourselves again to
the beauty of the Eternal Word;
to the reach of your revelation;
to the goodness of your Son’s glory:
so that in receiving Your gift in faith
we might share the gift with others!
Christ is the gift you give to all
as the last full measure of your devotion,
that we might be given the grace
to discover ourselves anew in You.
A grace where we are given
a fresh start–
a new beginning–
within in a large family
whose head is also the firstborn Son,
who teaches us to pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed by thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done.
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts
As we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil,
For thine is the Kingdom,
And the glory
And the life everlasting.
(Header image courtesy of Hope College.)