Jesus, you grew up in a family
that did not always understand,
who questioned you and no doubt squabbled;
hear our prayer for family gatherings this year.
Thank you for families that get along,
showing unconditional love and support:
families that are flexible and adaptive,
that can stand any storm.
Bless all who are travelling to gatherings
that they can’t wait to get to.
And then there are other families,
where tension, suspicion and judgement
vie for power with love and acceptance.
Sentences begin with “You always…”
“I never…” and “Not this again….”
Bless those who are travelling to gatherings
with shields up, heads down,
not sure if they will find a home at all.
And then there are those who are not travelling:
they can’t afford the expense,
or there is no home to go to,
or home is so toxic it’s healthier to stay away.
Bless those who are working to create
new networks of caring and support.
God of hope, send angels down this year
to give good tidings of great joy
right in the midst of real-world family dynamics;
the good, the sad, and the ugly.
Let us be these messengers of hope,
improbable emissaries of a newborn king,
to family Christmas miracles.