CHRISTMAS HEART LONGINGS
**CHRISTMAS** Little children light up with a glow of excitement when the word is mentioned. The word itself has become a season all its own. But why is it that the word “Christmas” stirs in our hearts a longing for gathering together and rejoicing? Sometimes we might feel that the tradition of Christmas is so ingrained in the fabric of our culture that we are set in a way of thinking not of our own choosing.
Or is Christmas a season of preparation that goes much deeper than tradition? What is the true heart longing we feel at Christmas?
THE TRUE HEART LONGING FOR CHRISTMAS
Perhaps the heart longing that we feel for Christmas is actually a prayer of waiting for our Savior. Many faith communities practice the season of Advent—waiting for the Savior—during these four weeks before Christmas. Even if you have not belonged to a community where Advent was a part of your tradition, perhaps it is a new tradition you could add this year.
What if we included, during these four weeks of Advent, a time to pause and pray about the longings in our hearts as we wait for our Savior? If we would be honest, we each would see that there are deep places in our hearts that need the touch of our dear Redeemer.
Rise up; come to our help! Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love! Psalm 44:26 ESV
Our Father in Heaven knew that we would need a Redeemer. He knew the longings that would fill those deep places in our hearts. And so, He shines a light on those places by stirring up longings within us.
SCRIPTURE PRAYERS SHOW US OUR HEART LONGINGS
He gave us so many Scriptures that are filled with those same heart longings, so many prayers expressed by those who came before us. And He wants to meet with us in those very places of longing.
Will you join us during this season of Advent, of Christmas longing, as we pause to pray? This month we are sharing four prayers and Scriptures, one for each week of Advent. Will you pray with us as we lift our heart-longings for Christmas up to Him?
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord— Isaiah 11:1-2
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for the plan that you set in motion from the beginning of time: a plan to bring rescue to us through the seed of Jesse and his son, David. A plan that flowed on through the generations to the miraculous coming of Your son, Jesus. Oh, Father, we are so humbled that Your Spirit would pour over us your own wisdom and understanding through Jesus your son. We are in such great need of your counsel and might. Yet some days we struggle to find your knowledge to make the right choices. Thank You, Lord, for coming to us, when we have most needed you. Thank you for bearing the fruit of eternal life for us through the gift of Your son’s own life. We praise You in the midst of our days here, as we bow before You in reverence.
In the name of Jesus, we pray,
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! Luke 1:41-42
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You that You chose to reveal Yourself to us, to come to our world. Thank You that Elizabeth and the babe that she carried in her womb recognized You, even as You still dwelt in Mary’s womb. Help us to recognize Your presence in our own lives. On the days when we doubt that You will appear to us, help us to open our eyes to see You. Even when pain might overwhelm our senses, help us to speak aloud the Glory of Your presence within us. Help us to lift those spoken and unspoken requests up to You, trusting that You have come to dwell with us.
In Your precious name we pray,
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Luke 2:8-12
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You that You announced Your son’s birth to the shepherds, men who were serving You, the Great Shepherd, out in the dark and the cold. Lord, we feel the dark and the cold of this world and it’s pain now also. And so we lift our eyes up to the sky this night, and we offer our own praises to You. Thank You for coming to bring us the Good News of great joy! Father, thank You that You have seen our suffering in the dark, and You have opened Heaven to rescue us. Thank You for sending Jesus, Your dear son, to show us the way to You. We are filled with love for You.
In the name of Your son, we pray,
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel . . . He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord. Micah 5:2,4
Thank You that You sent Your son, Jesus, to fulfill Your Word of prophecy. We are in awe of our Lord Jesus, and His birth in Bethlehem. And we are amazed by the way He has become our Great Shepherd. During these days when our own strength feels so small, we reach out to hold onto the hand of Your Son who will stand for us. We trust in HIS amazing power for us. And we love our Lord Jesus, the Son you have given for us.
In His name we pray,
Chronic Joy Contributing Writer
You can find Bettie blogging from her home in the far north suburbs of Chicago at bettiegsraseasons.com. She is walking forward with Jesus, in the middle of her own pain and weakness from multiple chronic illnesses. The beauty of nature is a joy that calls to Bettie, as do her family and nine young grandchildren. She and her husband have been married for over 40 years and take great joy in their weekend coffee breaks together.
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