Prayer for Christmas Eve with Hymns

Colorful Christmas lights, out of focus

This prayer's author suggests that for each paragraph of the prayer, an accompanist (on piano or some other instrument) softly play the hymn that's indicated at stanza's end. For clarity, these instructions are included below.

Accompanist begins to softly play "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" while worship leader speaks
Divine Mystery whose human form and human face and lively, justice seeking human spirit we celebrate this night, Holy Force we call by many names and this night Emmanuel, God with Us, come into our hearts, come forth into our imagination. O come, o come, Emmanuel.

Accompanist switches to "O Little Town of Bethlehem"
Hold us, as we hold strangers, family, friends and we ourselves, in moments of fear that this season does not banish—fear that this may be our last Christmas with a certain beloved someone, fear that the year to come holds difficulties we can’t overcome, fear that disappointment will be revealed beneath the tree, fear that sobriety is fleeting, fragile, already slipping, fear that the fear and hatred abroad in our country, in our world will deepen, its poison become evermore potent.

The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

Accompanist continues playing "O Little Town of Bethlehem."

Hold us, as we hold strangers, family, friends and we ourselves in moments of hope that this season crystalizes and magnifies—hope that love will be born tonight in ways and places and forms beyond imagining, hope that joy will be unwrapped on the morrow, hope that reconciliation is possible, hope that justice will prevail, hope that peace is even now gathering strength.

The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

Accompanist transitions to "Angels We Have Heard on High"

Sit with us, move among us as we ponder the age-old folly (or is it ageless wisdom?) of this festival of light and song, here, now in the deep darkness of the year, in the presence of war, despite the stark reality of widening gaps of income, of education, of justice, and privilege of all kinds, as we move daily between rage and grief at ever new signs that too many hearts are hardened against the truth that Black Lives Matter. And refugee lives matter. And trans lives matter. All lives lived at the margins and beyond the margins and hidden from closed eyes matter.

Why these songs of happy cheer?

Accompanist switches to "The First Noel"
Move upon us, nudge our heads upward, draw our eyes skyward, that we might remember awe, stare into infinity, see by the blazing, twinkling star of belief, notice all that can be seen when a light shines in the darkness—gestures of shy love, acts of courage, tendrils of change, dawning understanding, steadfast resolve.

And to the earth it gave great light.

Accompanist transitions to "We, Three Kings"
Dwell in our hearts, sowing love, watering love, gathering love, and sowing it again, until we know ourselves to love and to be loved, even more until we know ourselves to be love. Enter our lungs, that we might release held breath and whisper, shout, proclaim the love that is ours, that is us.

Love forever, ceasing never.

Accompanist plays "O Come All Ye Faithful"
Guide us toward the manger, toward the birth place of love and justice, peace and joy, in our time and our world—classrooms, lecture halls, protests, demonstrations, shelters, legislatures, hospital rooms, courtrooms, public squares, barracks, corner shops, coffee shops, kitchen tables. Unlikely all, holy every one.
We too with gladness, thither bend our footsteps.

Accompanist plays instrumental of "Silent Night"
Help us to recognize bearers of truth and light, messengers of miracles—infants and sages, rappers and cartoonists, activists and teachers, Grinches and Scrooges, Tiny Tims and Linuses, scientists and poets, neighbors and estranged family, reluctant allies and sometime enemies. Unlikely all; holy everyone.

…round yon virgin, mother and child…heavenly hosts sing "alleluia."

Finally, accompanist plays "Joy to the World"
Call us to witness, and to witness to, love and justice, peace and joy whenever, wherever, however they arrive. Open our mouths that we might proclaim love and justice, peace and joy—to those with waiting hearts, thirsty souls, and to those whose ears are closed, whose souls must be cracked open.
Repeat the sounding joy…as far as earth is found.
These and all the many prayers of our hearts, we offer now in the silence made sacred by our gathering and our intention.