Dear Father, the house was decorated for Christmas. The family had gathered. The home was filled with the hope of the love and celebration of Christmas. Instead, shots rang out. The parents are dead. An intruder attempted suicide. A daughter is crushed by the horror of watching her former boyfriend take the life of her parents in her bedroom. A 10-year-old boy and his grandparents will never be the same after experiencing the terror. The grief in the family will take years and years to subside. The challenges facing the survivors are beyond comprehension. Father, I pray for Your mercy on them. I don’t even know how to pray for them. I wouldn’t know what to say. Father, may the survivors be able to reflect back on this time in years to come and see how Your love poured into their lives this very moment. May they share the story of how You guided them through this nightmare. Father, transform their hearts and give them miraculous peace. Father, I pray for your blessings on Buckley’s organization, Buckley’s For Seniors. That organization is devastated as well. I pray for each of those who worked with Buckley each day, either as team members or clients. May each of them experience Your mercy and grace too. Father, I understand the shooter is still alive – at least as of this hour. If it is not too late, I pray that this young man will recover from his injuries and have remorse and seek forgiveness from You. I pray that this whole tragedy will lead him into a personal relationship with You and that he might be used by you to save people’s lives in the future. Amen.
Dear Father, millions of children will go to bed tonight excited that Santa Claus will come, bringing wonderful toys and treasures. In my youth, I too looked out the window into the night sky, looking for a sleigh. I remember the summer day when my father told me where my Christmas gifts really came from. The “magic” was over.
Father, what was the dark purpose of the creation of Santa Claus? As adults, we have learned that Santa is a myth. If Santa is a myth, therefore…so is the virgin birth of Jesus. We talk about Santa coming down the chimney with a wink and a smile. Parents put out cookies for Santa knowing full well who will really eat them. We also put out decorations of a manger scene and sing Christmas carols winking and smiling once more. It’s all make-believe. We all “know” it.
In addition, the celebration of Santa Claus sends the not-so-subtle message to all of us that we are all little gods. The purpose of the world is to satisfy our individual desires. Santa Claus is a metaphor for who we want You to be. You are the God who is to give us everything we want, exactly how we want it, and when we want it. If You don’t do that, we become bitter with You.
Father, it’s fun to think of the North Pole and elves in a toy shop. However, the reality is that the myth about Santa is very dark. He exists to lead us away from the grace of Jesus Christ. He also exists to inspire and empower our self-centeredness. Each Christmas season, the world is given an injection of rebellion from you. If we have wavered in our belief that life needs to satisfy our every desire, Santa comes down the chimney to reassure us that is exactly what life is all about.
How do I pray for Santa this day? I don’t have to pray for his protection. There will never be a news report of NTSB investigators walking among scattered gifts at the scene of a sleigh crash. What I do pray for tonight is that many little children who long for Santa this very hour will one day tell their family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers about their personal encounter with the baby who was placed in the manger 2,000 years ago. May parents across this nation teach their children in this coming year that there are no gifts more important at Christmas than the sharing of testimonies of Your goodness and the good works that show the love of God to people in need.