There are good years and bad years,
and then there are years from hell.
Hear our prayer, O God, for all who suffer.
You hear the anguished cries,
you collect our tears,
you know when hearts turn to stone.
Send a Saviour now with good news
for those who sit in the shadow of death:
for children who have lost their parents
and have no one to take care of them;
for teenagers forced into flight,
who can’t imagine a normal life;
for all who are fleeing violence
and looking for a place of refuge;
for all who have killed or witnessed a killing;
for all who have violated or been violated;
for parents who have responsibilities
and nowhere to turn to get help;
for all who have been ravaged by sickness
or who have watched a loved one suffer;
for all who suffer the pain of racism,
or are bowed under the yoke of poverty.
God, you know the particular pain of each one,
stories of hardship and loss and great pain.
You gather our stories in your arms,
and on this longest night, you hold them and us.
Hope shines like an infinitely distant star,
like a star over Bethlehem,
shining over towering concrete walls
and machine gun battlements,
shining over the pain of this battered world.
What we need is angels with good news of peace on earth,
lighting the sky of our lives, offering relief.
On this longest night, in the mystery of your love,
steal into our world again.
Be born again in hearts that long to be reborn,
in communities that have nowhere to go but up.
By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
and you will guide our feet
into the way of peace.
This is our prayer, may it be so.