we thank you for this past year
with its positive moments and its more difficult ones.
We thank you for the love we have received from family and friends
And for the successes we have had at work and at home.
We thank you also for the hard moments
The moments that we struggled with
the moments of challenge; the moments of uncertainty;
the moments when we have been afraid
for our safety and of those we love;
the moments when we lost those dear to us.
As we look forward to the next year
we ask for Your grace and blessing.
Give us health and strength;
give us faith and hope.
Send us Your Spirit.
Give us peace with the choices we make
Grant us joy as we look ahead and discern the future.
Most of all give us the love that will guide us
through whatever challenges we come across.
Help us to walk beside each other with patience and forgiveness
putting our hands in the hands of Your Son Jesus.
He guides us and strengthens us.
He is always by our side
He gives us hope
He helps us see beyond the small ‘now’
to the bigger picture and the wider dream
The dream imagined for us by You, our Father.
You who live and love
Forever and ever. Amen.
Enjoy this poignant poem entitled "Christmas" by Sir John Betjeman, an English poet who studied under T. S. Eliot and C. S. Lewis. This poem is considered one of the greatest Christmas poems ever written.
The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.
The holly in the windy hedge
And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that the villagers can say
'The church looks nice' on Christmas Day.
Provincial Public Houses blaze,
Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze,
Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says 'Merry Christmas to you all'.
And London shops on Christmas Eve
Are strung with silver bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.
And girls in slacks remember Dad,
And oafish louts remember Mum,
And sleepless children's hearts are glad.
And Christmas-morning bells say 'Come!'
Even to shining ones who dwell
Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.
And is it true? And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window's hue,
A Baby in an ox's stall?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me?
And is it true ? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,
No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare -
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.
"Looking at little life moments with a spiritual eye."