Praying in the New Year

A family stretches the spirit of Christmas onward in a God-centered practice.

Posted in , Jan 5, 2015

A basket of Christmas cards. Photo courtesy Shawnelle Eliasen.

It’s five o’clock. I whistle for the boys and wait for the thunder of footfalls on the stairs. Meal time is one thing no one wants to miss. The response to the dinner-call comes quick.

There’s a gratitude, a sweetness for my soul, when all the boys are home. They take their places, the ones they’ve claimed for years, around our long table. Lonny takes his place at the head, and it’s a treasure for a mother’s heart. The brood gathered.

A basket of Christmas cards. Photo courtesy Shawnelle Eliasen.But before the meal, we pray.

And praying, at the start of the New Year, is a precious thing.

“Can I pick a card tonight?” Isaiah asks. He’s the smallest, and by little-brother right, he chooses most often.

Logan hands him the basket from the center of the table. It’s full, rich and thick and full, with the season’s Christmas cards from family and friends.

Isaiah closes his eyes and moves his fingers over the tops of the cards. He smiles and draws one out. It’s a photo card from friends we’ve loved for a great many years. They moved to another state when my older boys were young, but in God’s grace, the strands of friendship have remained strong.

“I’ll start,” Isaiah says. “I’ll start to pray for Miss Sarah.”

Isaiah opens for prayer, but when he falls silent another son begins to pray. This tradition, praying for the families who sent the cards, has been a blessing for years. Some of the families we pray for regularly anyway.

But some we have the joy of connecting with only at Christmas, and we pray from what’s been shared in the Christmas letters that have been tucked into holiday cards.

Gabriel prays now. It’s short and sweet. I pray too, and a couple of other boys, and when it becomes quiet, Lonny closes.

I’m grateful for this opportunity to connect with those we love in this special way. It’s an opportunity to stretch the spirit of Christmas forward.

And a God-centered, prayerful way to begin the New Year.

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