Eighth day of Christmas (and New Year’s Day), January 1
Imagine eight activities or issues where you can become involved in order to help this become a better year and a better world. It could be how you treat others (or yourself), political or social justice involvements, community projects; some could be very small and easy, and some may take you all year to complete. Pray for God’s light to guide you in your choosing and in your actions.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through the Word, and without the Word not one thing came into being. What has come into being in the Word was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:1-5)
An aspect of the Christmas story we easily miss is how difficult this time must have been for Mary and Joseph, living under Roman occupation, poor, homeless, wandering, and unsure of the future. And yet, the Christmas story is filled with the presence of God through the hardest times and the most joyful times. So too, for us this year. Though filled with challenges and turmoil, God continues to be present and presenting us with miracles of new life.
As you celebrate the Twelve Days of this Christmas season and in the closing of this challenging year, these Devotions come with prayers for you and your ministries, with hope for our world so desperately in need of new life, and with suggestions for your own prayers and thoughts for each of the 12 Days of Christmas. May God’s Word light our way through this journey of sustaining faith, of buoyant hope, of love reborn and of joy sparkling and dancing into the bleakest times – of the new life of Christ always being born anew – because nothing can overcome God’s love at work in our world.
First day of Christmas, December 25
As you light the one Christ Candle, notice how one small flame can give so much illumination. The darker it is, the brighter the one flame shines in the darkness. Notice all the places of darkness around you, around others and around our world. Notice where the flickering flames of God’s love are present. Pray and work for the illumination of the light of God’s love to shine in each space of darkness.
Second day of Christmas, December 26
Find two ways you can add a little light to the lives of others around you. Where are two places of deepest need in your church, in your community, in our world? Pray that the light of God’s love will shine in the hearts and souls of those in deepest need.
Third day of Christmas, December 27
Before each of your three meals (or three times in the day), offer prayers of thanksgiving for the ways God is shining light into your life, your church, and this world in love.
Fourth day of Christmas, December 28
Write and send four letters or emails to people who come to you in your prayer, who might need or appreciate a message from you. Hold those people in the light of prayer throughout the day.
Fifth day of Christmas, December 29
Today, sit in silent prayer for five minutes with a candle lit in front of you. Observe how the golden flame flickers and dances. Contemplate how you can dance a little more brightly in the light of God’s life and love. How might you bring this dance of new life, of flickering flame of love into a ministry of justice and hope in your community.
Sixth day of Christmas, December 30
There are times we need to let go of our judgements, our fears, or of anything we cling to, in order for new opportunities to emerge. Find six things to let go of – things you own to give away, books you have read and can pass on to another, behaviors or habits you want to let go . . .
Can you think of six things in your ministry or your church which you or your congregation need to let go so new ministries might emerge? Pray for the wisdom of God to light your way so you can discover new freedom and new life as you release them.
Seventh day of Christmas, December 31
Develop a list of seven holy Words of spiritual, life-giving values that you want to pray over, to light your way of living, of loving, and of serving across the new year.