I set up the Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving and then waited expectantly for the joy of Christmas to fill me. Nothing happened.
“Maybe more lights would help,” I thought a few days later, as I adorned my windows with twinkly lights. It didn’t work.
“I know! I am not in the Christmas spirit because I missed the beginning of advent!” (My next guess.) Yet, as I found an advent devotional and started in a week late, the longing for joy only increased.
With two weeks left before Christmas, I knew my soul needed something more. So I opened my bible to Luke and prayed through the Christmas story.
Will you join me?
Finding Joy in the Christmas Story (Luke 1-2)
(My written prayers are only meant to guide you; expand, omit, and change them as you feel led by the Holy Spirit.)
Read: Luke 1: 26-28
Pray: God, thank you for the assurance that you see me and my everyday actions matter to you. Mary held no position of prominence, and sought no fame; but because of her daily obedience to you, you used her mightily. I ask you to foster within me a desire to obey you; so when you call, I may hear the words “Greetings, you are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Read: Luke 1:29
Pray: I can imagine Mary’s troubled emotional state came from feeling inadequate. (“Me? Highly favored? Are you sure?”) Sometimes I feel like this God. I wonder if you picked the wrong person for a certain task. (“Maybe my assignment got switched with someone else?”) But I know you don’t make mistakes. You call specific people, to specific works, at specific times. Help me to trust you when you call.
Read: Luke 1:30-33
Pray: God I praise you for always fulfilling your promises. You promised a savior from the line of David, and here we see the beginning of that fulfillment. Let me not forget, Jesus is the Son of the Most High who reigns forever! Just as the Israelite’s awaited the arrival of the Messiah, so I await his return; for you promised he will return, bringing lasting peace on earth.
Read: Luke 1:34-37
Pray: Oh God, all logic and science says a virgin having a baby is impossible (even Mary herself thought so), but with you, nothing is impossible. By the power of the Holy Spirit, all things may be accomplished here on earth as you proclaim in heaven. May the birth of Jesus always remind me of this truth.
Read: Luke 1:38
Pray: God I pray for an obedient heart like Mary’s.
Read: Luke 1:39-45
Pray: God, you knew Mary needed some assurance and support, so you sent her to Elizabeth. Thank you for not wanting us to bear difficulties alone. Please reveal to me someone I can support and encourage right now. Give me the desire to be an Elizabeth to a Mary.
Read: Luke 1:46-55
Pray Mary’s song of praise to God: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. May all generations call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him,from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever,just as he promised our ancestors.”
Read: Luke 2: 1-5
Pray: What a great reminder that you are in charge God. You arranged everything for Jesus’s birth. You determined the perfect time and put leaders in place who needed a census. You planned Mary’s pregnancy to end while in Bethlehem, to fulfill the prophecy of Micah. Help me remember that you constantly work to fulfill your promises. Even when I don’t understand what is going on around me, I put my confidence in you. I praise you for the great care and planning you put into the lives of all your children.
Read: Luke 2: 6-7
Pray: Jesus, of all the places to be born, you chose a manger in Bethlehem. As I reflect on your life here on earth, I see how it makes the perfect beginning. You constantly humbled yourself; choosing a lowly position, and reaching out to those dismissed by society. Yet, from this humble position, you achieved so much. Let your life bring me hope, and remind me it doesn’t matter how my life started, or even where I end up, as long as I seek to glorify God everyday.
Read: Luke 2: 8-14
Pray: Oh Lord I am imagining being a witness to this magnificent sight and I am filled with joy. The birth of Jesus changed everything (even the angels could not help but rejoice). Joy and peace for all people! This is the promise of Christmas. Thank you God for your goodness, mercy, and unfailing love.
Read Luke 2: 15-16
Pray: I love how Luke recorded the shepherds making haste to find Jesus. It reminds me how I need to respond to the good news of the gospel. Nothing is more important than seeking Jesus. Lord, help me make this a priority in my life.
Read Luke 2:17-18
Pray: What else would you do with good news besides share it? Yet I am guilty of keeping Jesus to myself. Lord, forgive me for remaining silent when I should have spoken. Give me courage to spread the good news of great joy for all people.
Read Luke 2: 19
Pray: God you know I am a ponderer. When people are full of excitement around me, I usually just take it all in and think about it later. What a relief to see Mary, in whom you are well please, doing the same thing. Thank you for designing me to treasure and ponder life.
Read Luke 2: 20-21
Pray: Heavenly Father, I desire to be like the shepherds in these verses. Place the joy of Jesus in my heart, and bring songs of praise to my lips. And as Christmas comes and goes, let me not forget; “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. [I] have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). How great are you God!