Dear Saints of Emmanuel,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
A Great Christian New Year's Resolution is to vow to pray every day. Here are some suggestions.
"May God make your year a happy one! Not by shielding you from all sorrows and pain, But by strengthening you to bear it, as it comes; Not by making your path easy, But by making you sturdy to travel any path; Not by taking hardships from you, But by taking fear from your heart; Not by granting you unbroken sunshine, But by keeping your face bright, even in the shadows; Not by making your life always pleasant, But by showing you when people and their causes need you most, and by making you anxious to be there to help. God's love, peace, hope and joy to you for the year ahead."
( from St. Peter's Episcopal Church, St. Louis, MO, website.)
Gracious God, helps us to trust that you, God are always Good.
Gracious God, help us to trust that you love us and that we are made in your likeness and image.
Gracious God, guide us in trusting that you have good plans for us and that with you in our midst anything and everything good is possible.
Gracious God, thank you for the beauty, wonder, majesty, and awe you bestowed upon us this Christmas. Thank you for the mastery of John and Jordan our musicians and for the heavenly choir of angels and instrumentalists, the altar guild and flower guild, the readers, chalice bearers, intercessors, ushers, and all who helped make the Advent and Christmas services transformative.
God, thank you for our Clergy, Staff, Wardens, Vestry, and all the faithful Saints of Emmanuel.
Thank you, God, for all the people we love and all those who love us, both living and dead.
God, thank you for all the good, meaningful, hopeful things in our lives: Church, work, volunteering, music, literature, art, pets, exercise, entertainment, the glories of a beautiful day, the kindness of friends and strangers.
God, bring sanity and healing to the poverty, oppression, and gun violence that attack Baltimore and our world on a daily basis.
Gracious God, bless and protect all soldiers, police, and first responders, and their families. Uphold the wounded. Support the grieving.
Dear God, please inspire all who work for peace and justice through non-violent means.
God, please protect those endangered by the bitter cold.
Dear God, open the hearts and minds of our President and his advisors. May the leadership in Washington make just and compassionate decisions for the welfare of the whole world. God, please change the hearts and actions of our Washington leaders as necessary. And guide us in collaborating with all leaders when we can, never failing to hold our leaders accountable. Fill us with courage to resist, when necessary, the words, actions, and policies that are unjust, illegal, and immoral.
God, equip us to love you. Equip us to love our neighbors and ourselves. Fortify us to love our enemies.
And, may the peace of God which passes all human understanding keep your hearts and your minds in the knowledge and love of God and of God's Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, and may the Blessing of God Almighty, the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit be with you today and always. Amen.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !
The Rev. Hentzi Elek