Jesus, you know the 35,000 people in jail in Canada
by name, not number.
You know each holding cell, each regional detention centre,
each provincial institution and federal prison.
You were a captive, you too wore chains.
No one falls through the cracks in your kingdom,
you witness every tear shed in the night.
Where there is loneliness, bring companionship.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is fear, courage.
Where there is confinement, your freedom.
We pray for every imprisoned person who misses their family,
who cannot hold their children, or visit their parents,
who will this Christmas be surrounded not by loved ones
but by inmates who have no way out.
These are people whose special holiday dinner
is served on cafeteria trays
by people who are paid to be there.
We give thanks that the gift of the Christ-child on Christmas morning
is not controlled by human hands, not stopped by locks or bars.
As we wait for Christmas, open our hearts to remember
those who wait for court dates and parole hearings,
who wait for the end of each day and the end of their sentence.
Give us strength to refuse to be part of a society
that would shut doors forever and throw keys away.
We would meet you, Immanuel, God with us,
in the eyes of every person in prison.