It’s easy to forget that Christmas lasts more than just one day.
On December 26th, the commercial landscape is stripped of lights, snowflakes, and greenery so quickly that it seems it could only be possible with the help of angels or elves!
At home, the stubs of advent candles mean the weeks of spiritually waiting and preparing are over. The Jesse tree, overflowing with ornaments, has taken us through salvation history. Our best dresses and ties are placed back in the closet after attending Christmas Mass.
Our prayers of preparation may be over, but there are also many beautiful, traditional prayers that can help us continue keeping Christ in Christmas long after Christmas Day!
Here are 10 prayers, hymns, and poems that will help you reflect on the ongoing Christmas season:
1. A Visit to the Sacred Crib of Our Lord Jesus Christ
“I adore you, Incarnate Word, the true Son of God from all eternity, and the true Son of Mary in the fullness of time. As I adore your divine Person and the sacred Humanity united, I feel myself drawn to venerate the poor crib that welcomed you when you were a little child, the crib that was truly the first throne of your love. If there were a way that I could prostrate myself before you with the same simplicity of the shepherds, with the faith of Joseph and the love of Mary, I would choose to do so. If I could bend low to venerate this precious memorial of our salvation with the spirit of mortification, poverty, and humility, which you, the Lord of heaven and earth, chose as a resting place, I would do so! O Lord, you determined in your infancy to be laid in this manger, pour into my heart a drop of that joy which must have been experienced at the sight of your birth. By virtue of your holy birth, I implore you to grant peace and goodwill to the entire world. In the name of all humanity, I implore you to give perfect thanks and infinite glory to your Eternal Father, whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns one God, world without end. Amen.”
2. Christmas Morning Prayer
“God of Promises, we have waited in hope, praying and preparing for Jesus. He has come just as you promised. He is the world’s Light that has brightened this Christmas morning.
Today we are reminded that there will be no more darkness in our lives. We know that peace and joy are ours because Jesus is born for us. May Jesus, the Light of the World, shine in our family today and every day.
May those who live in darkness and despair come to know Jesus’ light, and may his peace reign in our world forever. We make our prayer through Jesus, who is the Lord of Light and the Prince of Peace. Amen.”
3. Drop Your Dew, Ye Clouds of Heaven
Traditional Austrian hymn.
"Drop your dew, ye clouds of heaven,
Rain the Just One now to save!
With that cry the night was riven
From the world, a yawning grave.
On the earth by God forsaken
Sin and death their toll had taken.
Tightly shut was heaven's gate,
For salvation all must wait.
To redeem our sad condition
Was the Father's loving Will,
And the Son took the glad mission
His decision to fulfill.
Gabriel to earth descended,
Brought the answer long attended
"See the Handmaid of the Lord,
Do according to thy word."
Let us walk with right intention,
Not in drunkenness and greed,
Quarrels, envies and contention
Banished far from us indeed.
Fully now to imitate Him
As with longing we await Him
Is the duty of these days,
As the great Apostle says."
4. Christmas Prayer of St. Bernard of Clairvaux
“Let your goodness Lord, appear to us, that we, made in your image, may conform ourselves to it. In our own strength we cannot imagine your majesty, power, and wonder, nor is it fitting for us to even try. But your mercy reaches from the heavens, through the clouds, to the earth below. You have come to us as a small child, but you have brought us the greatest gift, the gift of your eternal love. Caress us with your tiny hands, embrace us with your tiny arms, and pierce our hearts with your soft, sweet cries. Amen.”
5. That Holy Thing
By George MacDonald
“They all were looking for a king
To slay their foes, and lift them high:
Thou cam'st a little baby thing
That made a woman cry.
O son of man, to right my lot
Nought but thy presence can avail;
Yet on the road thy wheels are not,
Nor on the sea thy sail!
My fancied ways why shouldst thou heed?
Thou com'st down thine own secret stair:
Com'st down to answer all my need,
Yea, every bygone prayer!”
6. Prayer to the Infant Jesus
by St. Alphonsus Liguori
(An especially beautiful prayer to pray before a nativity scene!)
“O amiable Infant, though I see you in this cavern, lying on straw poor and despised, yet faith teaches me that you are my God, who came down from heaven for my salvation.
I acknowledge you as my Lord and Savior, but I have nothing to offer you. I have no gold of love, because I have loved creatures; I have loved my own desires, but I have not loved you, O amiable infinite one! I have not the incense of prayer, because I have lived in a miserable state of forgetfulness of you. I have no myrrh of mortification, for I have often displeased your infinite goodness so that I would not be deprived of my miserable pleasures.
What then can I offer you? I offer you my heart, filthy and poor as it is, please accept it and change it. You came into the world for this purpose, to wash the hearts of humanity from their sins by your blood, and thus change them from sinners into saints. Therefore, give me this gold, this incense, and this myrrh. Give me the gold of your holy love; give me the incense, the spirit of holy prayer, give me the desire and strength to mortify myself in everything that displeases you. I am resolved to obey you and to love you, but you know my weakness. Give me the grace to be faithful to you!
Most holy virgin, you who welcomed the Magi with affection, welcome me also, who has come to visit your Son and to offer myself to him. O my Mother, I have great confidence in your intercession. Recommend me to Jesus. I trust to you my soul and my will; bind it forever to the love of Jesus. Amen.”
by St. Alphonsus Liguori
“O Mary and Joseph, we thank you for having lived the moments of uncertainty and anguish with purity of heart and with one desire: to be faithful to the Lord. God’s astounding plan made you seek new directions. Though frustration was not spared, you, your faith was only strengthened. Protect us by your intercession that we may never forget the presence of our Lord who is our joy and our strength. Amen.”
8. A Hymn on the Nativity of My Savior
By Ben Jonson
“I sing the birth was born tonight,
The Author both of life and light;
The angels so did sound it,
And like the ravished shepherds said,
Who saw the light, and were afraid,
Yet searched, and true they found it.
The Son of God, the eternal King,
That did us all salvation bring,
And freed the soul from danger;
He whom the whole world could not take,
The Word, which heaven and earth did make,
Was now laid in a manger.
The Father's wisdom willed it so,
The Son's obedience knew no "No,"
Both wills were in one stature;
And as that wisdom had decreed,
The Word was now made Flesh indeed,
And took on Him our nature.
What comfort by Him do we win?
Who made Himself the Prince of sin,
To make us heirs of glory?
To see this Babe, all innocence,
A Martyr born in our defense,
Can man forget this story?”
9. New Year’s Eve Prayer
“God of Life, you have given us lives with the rhythm of days and nights, weeks and months. Through this rhythm, you remind us that we are part of a universe that is under your power. You are the beginning and the end of all things.
As we come to the end of this year, we reflect on the many graces you have given us. Thank you for the joyful times, the times of celebration, the times of sharing as a family, and the times of feeling warm and loved. Thank you too, for the difficult times, for the times of pain and misunderstanding, the times of growth and healing. We ask this in the name of Christ, your son and our Brother. Amen.”
10. An Epiphany Prayer
by Blessed Columba Marmion
“O God, who upon this day by the leading of a star, did reveal Your Only-begotten Son to the Gentile; mercifully grant, that we who already know You by faith, may be brought to the contemplation of the beauty of your majesty. amen”
Does your family have a favorite prayer to pray during the Christmas season? Share with us below!