Prayer for a Military Holiday Party

I gave this invocation at my command’s formal holiday (aka Christmas) dinner on December 14, 2012.

* * *

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

O Lord, you have indeed brought light into our lives. The joy that we feel tonight as we gather together around these tables is but a taste of the good things you pour into our lives. I thank you at this moment for the gifts of food and friendship, for the work that you enable us to do and for the times of rest that refresh us.

We are grateful for the promise that this season holds, and I pray for those in our military family who will find merriment difficult this year. For those who are grieving the loss of loved ones. For those who are separated by deployment away from friends and family. And for those still carrying around the wounds of war, whether visible or invisible. Bless us all, I pray, not with presents and packages wrapped up with bows, but by answering the deepest longings of our hearts.

I pray that the promise of peace on earth, good will among all will come to pass – and that it will come, at least in a small way, because of the work that we do and the people that we are. Amen.