Much More Brightly Than Before

O Lord, our God, when we are afraid do not let us despair. When we are disappointed do not let us become bitter. When we fall do not let us remain prostrate. When we are at the end of our understanding and our powers, do not let us then perish. No, let us feel then Thy nearness and Thy love, which Thou hast promised especially to those whose hearts are humble and broken and who stand in fear before Thy word. To all men Thy Son has come as to those who are so beset. Indeed, because we are all so beset he was born in a stable and died on a cross. Lord, awaken us all and keep us all awake t this knowledge and to this confession.

And now we think of all the darkness and suffering of this our time; of the many errors and misunderstandings with which we men torment ourselves; of all the burdens that so many must bear uncomforted; of all the great dangers by which our world is threatened without our knwoing how we should meet them. We think of the sick and the sick in spirit, the poor, the displaced, the oppressed, those who suffer injustice, the children who have no parents or no proper parents. And we think of all who are called to help as far as men can help; the rulers of our land and of all other lands, the judges and officials, the teachers and leaders of youth, the men and women who are responsible for writing books and newspapers, the doctors and nurses in the hospitals, those who proclaim Thy word in the various churches and congregations near at hand and far away. We think of them all with the petition that the light of Christmas may shine brightly for them and for us, much more birghtly than before, that thereby they and we may be helped. We ask all this in the name of the Savior in whom Thou hast already heard us and wilt hear us again and again. Amen.

–Karl Barth, Selected Prayers, trans. Keith R. Crim. Richmond: John Knox Press, 1965, pp. 22-23.

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