As this season of joyful anticipation comes to a close and we look forward to the Feast of Christmas which is quickly approaching, the friars, staff and members of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi continue to offer prayers for the victims of the terrible events of last Friday in Newtown, CT., and their families who are grieving their loss, and for the entire community suffering from this senseless violence and destruction. While this casts a shadow over our joy at Christmas, it reminds us that Christ came precisely to a world in desperate need of salvation. Sinless he came to a sinful world. Compassionate and loving, he came to a world stained by malice and hate. Gentle he came to a violent world. He came precisely because we need to be healed. The ultimate joy of Christmas is not in the decorations and lights, nor in gifts and celebrations. It is in the knowledge that God is with us. Emmanuel. Because of Him, all will be well. All will be well. Join us in offering Christmas prayers to the One who came as a child to redeem all of God’s children.
God of compassion, there is such a hole our heart!
This season should be filled with joy, but we feel pain, emptiness and loss. While the world celebrates, your children in Connecticut remember loved ones who are not with them this Christmas. We bring our sorrows to you, Lord, like some odd gift of the magi and place them at your feet. In our blind tears we wonder if there is any sense to the depth of our shared sadness.
You sent your Son to be with us in our deepest sorrows and even though at times we might not feel it, you are here with us, grieving with us, caring for us in our sadness. Dear Lord, help especially the families who have lost children. It may not be time right now, but eventually remind them of the hope that Christ’s birth brought to the world. Remind them that you are with them, and you will not let this evil have the last word. Remind them that they will once again see their children when you gather us all to yourself in the Kingdom where violence, pain and death are no more.
Father, send Emmanuel, to be with us once again this Christmas.
We ask this is His name, who is Lord for ever and ever.