The Days Before Christmas: A Prayer of Lament

by Grace Pike December 23, 2020

A few days before Christmas, my COVID-19 test came back positive. After months of mask-wearing, social distancing, and close calls, I realized in an instant that despite my best efforts I would not be home for the holidays. Though this is sad (especially since I live in a different part of the country than my family), I realize I am not alone. This prayer of lament surfaced from shared sorrows, but I pray it reorients your heart to praise.

Help us, O God,
Father of comfort
who comforts us in our affliction.

On these days before Christmas,
we taste the weariness of our world more than before.

Loved ones are not near,
Companions are not close.
Traditions are not kept,
Nor any other promise of Man.

Kindness has been forgotten;
shoved away for lesser things—
traded for selfishness and malice
parading as strength.

We have chosen walls over bridges
time and time again,
embracing pride over people
and fear over forgiveness.

God of mercy, let this be no longer!
Help us, O Lord,
Righteous King over all
Who executes justice for the orphan and the widow
And shows love for the alien.

In place of empty and artificial
phrases that disintegrate and leave
no trace of sustenance,
make our lips to drip
with deep and satisfying sweetness
of the fruit of Your Spirit.

Root out bitterness!
Abolish wrath!

Grant us the grace to heed your command:

“Be kind to one another,
tenderhearted,
forgiving one another,
as God in Christ forgave you.”
Oh Lord, how we forget Your grace in our lives,
Consumed with what we have done
and what we desire to do
rather than recalling what You have done for us…

Forgetting that You chose us
by no merit of our own.

Forgetting that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us.

Remember, oh my soul,
that the preeminent image of the invisible God
“made Himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!”

Holy Spirit, bring conviction as we recall the Son—
the example of humility we are to emulate with gladness.

Father, sanctify Your people—
grant to us the kindness and humility we see in our Savior.

Son of God, be enthroned upon our stubborn hearts—
Humble us with your glory and grace.

Oh affectionate Lord,
Make your vessels of mercy overflow with the unfailing kindness You have shown to us.