Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 12/16

Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 12/16

Many have already decorated for Christmas and many more will this weekend- so I think it’s time for this post, one I’ve shared in Advent for a number of years now.

This photo takes me to a place deep in my heart where some of my most cherished childhood memories are stored.  This was my family’s nativity set  (we called it « the manger ») which sat atop our television – and don’t ask my why because I don’t know!  It was right here that my parents first taught me the story of Jesus’ birth.

And do you see on the left, in a grove of four pines, a small church?  An interior light gave a warm glow from within and a tiny bell with a clapper hung in the steeple.  On the right are four members of a children’s choir, each a candle with a wick on top which we never lit: that little choir sang from year to year. Oh, how incredibly well I remember all these!

This photo holds the key to a store house of memories in my heart. Some Christmas memories bring us joy, others bring us tears; some we want to remember forever, some we might want to forget.  I’m struck this weekend by how my own words in this prayer « sound » differently from year to year, depending on what’s happened in my life since last Christmas…

Let’s pray…

All it takes, Lord, is an old photo, 

an ornament on the tree,

or a special song or carol

to open my heart to memories 

of Christmas long ago…

When memories make me sad, Lord, 

with loss, regret and hurt,

let your healing Christmas touch

mend and heal what’s broken in my heart…

And when memories bring me joy

let me revel in and cherish 

what my heart has kept for times like these 

when I so long to touch once more

what’s passed beyond my reach…

Let my joyful memories give me faith

to find within my heart 

those I wish were in my arms:

the ones I hold in love, in prayer

in memories dear of Christmas past…

And as this season stirs and opens

treasures in my heart,

help me handle each one gently

and with your gentle hand, Lord,

help me treasure all I find…