I have said many times over the years that my favorite name for Jesus is "Emmanuel- God with us." In this simple title we found the depths of the meaning of Christmas.
My family has certainly experienced this reality as we have dealt with the tragic death of my nephew, Kyle Conrad. My brother and his wife and daughters, my parents, and our part of the clan have been sustained by God's loving care and supported by the prayers, comfort, and love and so many. In times of crisis we experience "God with skin-on" through the presence of others.
Below is a portion of the prayer that I offered at the Sunday celebration service:
Wonderful Counselor, we look to you for direction as we step into a new and different future.
Mighty God, we prayer for strength as we carry our grief and bear one another's burdens.
Everlasting Father, we claim the gift of hope-- confident of your love and that by faith death does not have the last word.
Prince of Peace, bring wholeness to mend our brokenness, joy to overcome our sorrow, and comfort to our weary souls.
Through Christ our Lord... Emmanuel. Amen.