Sometimes we don’t feel like celebrating Christmas because we have suffered loss such as the death of a loved one, divorce, illness, loss of jobs or homes, disasters or family problems.
This guided Christmas grief, loss and depression prayer can help you pray honestly to God and receive comfort and hope when you don’t feel like celebrating Christmas. It can be used as a personal or prayer or can be used in a church service for those who are facing a lonely or sad Christmas.
Christmas Grief, Loss and Depression Prayer When You Don’t Feel Like Celebrating Christmas
Dear God, as we enter the holiday season this year, we sometimes find it difficult to put on a happy face and celebrate because of the losses we have experienced and the struggles we are going through.
Some of us have experienced the death of a loved one. Some of us have experienced a divorce or separation. Some of us have lost our health. Some of us have lost homes, livelihoods and friends. Some of us have loved ones who are dealing with life altering problems.
We now offer our individual prayers to you.
I begin by pausing and silently naming my own personal struggles to you ____________________________________________________________________________________
The holidays bring back so many memories and often my own good memories become the very things that pierce my heart. And so I will make the words of Psalm 42 my own prayer:
“My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’ These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.” (Psalm 42:4 NIV)
God, I identify so clearly with the psalmist when he uses the phrase “used to.” There are so many things that I used to have, used to do, used to be that are absent right now in my life. God, I silently name before you the things that used to give me so much joy and comfort that are no longer a part of my life________________________
Although I no longer possess these blessings I have named to you, I affirm them as good gifts from you that I can still treasure in my memory and in my heart.
Because I cannot have the life I used to have, I ask you to help me on the life journey that I now have.
Although I may not be able to hear a choir of jubilant angels, I pray that you will make me aware of the quieter, less glittery angels who each day bring me a glimpse of your presence or a moment of your comfort. I now ask you to bring to mind one such angel who has been there for me_____________________________________________________________________
Dear Jesus, as others joyously welcome you into the world as Almighty God and King, I quietly welcome you into my broken heart as the Man of Sorrows as Isaiah says, who was “despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.” (Isaiah 53:3 NIV) I now claim your redemptive power over my sorrow. I silently meditate on a sorrow you faced in your earthly life that is similar to mine. ______________________________________________
Thank you dear Jesus, for suffering so that you might be a real and present part of this difficult time of my life.
Dear Lord, as family and friends gather together in celebration, I become more aware of my own loneliness and isolation. I claim Psalm 68:6 where it says, “God sets the lonely in families.” I now silently listen as I ask you to direct me toward a new type of family where I can find shelter today _____________
During Christmas I think about how the angel told the shepherds, “This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10 NIV) The angel knew that the shepherds were simple people who needed a sign to help them believe your promises. Like them, I could use a sign of your presence or a sign that I’m heading in the right direction. I now open myself up to the possibility that you want to send me a sign of your care, something special between just you and me. I now silently ask you about what kind of sign you might direct me to seek ______________________________
Father God, I now look toward a baby in a manger, realizing that my hope is like baby Jesus, small and newborn and vulnerable. I trust that you will nurture and protect my newborn hope until the day it is fully grown, mature, vibrant and strong. I pray for the day my hope will become a beautiful thing as it says in Ecclesiastes, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
Although another Christmas season is upon me, ready or not, I trust that you are ready to walk with me during the coming days as my dear companion and friend who is my Emmanuel, which means God is with us. (Matthew 1:23) Amen.
About this prayer
I wrote this Christmas Grief, Loss and Depression Prayer to use at a special prayer service at our church to help those who were dreading the Christmas season because of their current life situation. We realized the need for this type of prayer because many people suffer in silence during Christmas because it brings up memories of people who are no longer in their lives and things they have lost. One woman shared how she was completely alone on Christmas the first year after her divorce and how she kept small token gifts given to her by her co -workers and placed them under her tree to open all by herself on Christmas morning. Yet around others, she pretended to be doing OK, even though her heart was aching.
We called our church service Hope Transcends. We wanted to make a place for people to feel comfortable with their own struggles and where God could provide a glimmer of hope in their darkness and where we could hug each other.
Although much has been written about Christmas stress and depression, these articles often focus on managing high expectations, overspending, overdoing, etc. This prayer focuses on the problem of grief, loss and absence at Christmas which is an entirely different matter with much deeper emotional roots. Unfortunately, Christmas brings up memories of better times and these memories can be incredibly painful. Seeing families gathering and celebrating together makes loneliness unbearable.
This prayer was created as a way of us as individuals and as a church community to seek God’s presence in the lives of those who are hurting at Christmas. May God be with all of those who are feeling an absence in their life during Christmas.
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Copyright Karen Barber 2017. All rights reserved.