When the Holiday Season Is Difficult

From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16 (ESV)

Lord Jesus, I’ve been pondering this phrase since yesterday’s prayer: “grace upon grace.” Holidays make us grateful for your supersized-provision of loving-kindness, redemptive presence, and trustable-hope. I woke up today feeling the weight of friends’ stories; and the wait of deep, good longings.

Many of us are still holding out for the last scene in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Resolution and redemption, a happy gathering and a good ending would be “wonderful,” indeed. But whatever this Christmas season proves to be, you always prove yourself to be a most wonderful and merciful Savior. We praise, bless, and adore you, Jesus.

We pray for friends facing their first Christmas having committed a loved one to eternity. Death is a thief whose robbery is most profoundly felt during holidays. Grant special grace for those families, still reeling with loss and grief. No one is as compassionate as you, Jesus.

Thank you for coming into our world to defeat sin and death, which you have magnificently done. The next time we see you, you will eradicate sin and death forever. Hasten the Day of eternal delight, non-stop dancing, and no more goodbyes.

We also pray for friends bracing to endure this week, and Christmas Day in particular. Old wounds get easily triggered; brokenness get neon-lighted; messy relationships seem messier; personal agendas declare war on each other; and loneliness feels it’s loneliest.

Grant copious grace for complex scenarios and difficult stories. The world into which you were born was filled with madness and sadness, self-interest and self-indulgence. You shy away from none of this stuff, Jesus. Thank you. Bless you.

Surprise us with your calming, healing, liberating presence. Sweeten the bitter waters of brokenness with the new wine of your kindness. Free each of us to offer your welcome, forgiveness, and kindness—no matter what we get in return. Do more than we can ask or imagine. Grant grace upon grace to all of us, Lord Jesus. So very Amen we pray, in your tender and triumphant name.