Our prayer this Christmas is beyond words.
You find it in the silence of the sleeping forest,
down under the ice.
You find it with the wind sweeping in cold gusts,
rattling the windows.
Our prayer is the snow that’s falling.
Inside, it’s the table being set, the preparations,
it is every twinkling light and piece of greenery.
Our prayer floats on the fragrance of food in the oven.
We pull this prayer with us
as we remember Christmases long ago,
it rests on faces of people who live in our memory
and places we know by heart.
This prayer is facts and numbers,
you can see it on a graph;
it fills every newscast.
This prayer is profoundly personal,
it slides in drops down people’s cheeks.
This prayer is lodged
in the tightness between our shoulder blades,
it’s written in the wrinkles on our foreheads,
so many sighs express it.
As millions of faces appear on screens,
our prayer is the ache of absence
and the longing to have and to hold.
This prayer is found in hospitals, hostels
and refugee camps, in homes of every kind
and even in empty churches.
This prayer gathers above our beds at night,
in the morning as we open the curtains,
we see it growing in the sky.
You find our prayer in Bethlehem,
because we cast it there across the ages.
It is knit together with the song of angels
over the bed of a sleeping baby, hours old;
a tiny little blanket of hope.