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Thinking Out Loud

Preparing the Way of the Lord

by Michael Jinkins | Dec 14, 2015

Prepare the Way of the LordThe great 16th century reformer of the church, Martin Luther, maintained that if we wish to know what God is like, we would do best to run to the manger in Bethlehem or to the cross on Calvary. He was convinced that the source of authentic knowledge of God lies not in abstract speculation, but in an encounter by the power of the Holy Spirit with Jesus of Nazareth.

As we prepare to celebrate the coming of Christ - the Word of God in speechless infancy - I want to share with you three Christmas prayers, each of which reminds us that the incarnation is not a riddle that can be solved but a mystery that reduces us to awe and reverence.

"God, the Eternal Mystery of our Life, by the birth of Your own word of love in our flesh You have made the glory of Your life in its eternal youth into our life, and have caused it to appear in triumph. Grant us that when we experience the disappointments of our lives we may be enabled to believe that Your love, which You Yourself are and which You have bestowed upon us, is the eternal youth that is our own true life."

-Karl Rahner, Prayers for a Lifetime (New York: Crossroad, 1984), p. 46.

"O Son of God, from the beginning you were with the Father, and for us and for our salvation you came down from heaven. Grant us more and more to receive of your fullness and to accept from you the power to become the children of God; for you are the true light of everyone who comes into the world, now and forever."

-John Wallace Suter, Prayers of the Spirit (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1943), p. 18.

"While all the world, Lord God, lay wrapped in deepest silence, and night had reached its mid-point, your all-powerful Word came down. As year by year the beauty of this night returns, growing old with the aged and renewed in the wonder of children, so may we, grown old in sin but reborn to grace, proclaim with our lives what we chant with our lips: Glory to you, our God, in the highest heavens, peace on earth and in the depth of every human heart."

-Concluding prayer for vigils, Christmas Day, Benedictine Daily Prayer Compiled and edited by Maxwell E. Johnson, Oblate of Saint John's Abbey and the Monks of Saint John's Abbey (Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2005), p. 1371.

May God grant you a blessed Christmas!

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