Everyone has favorite Christmas songs that carry the delight of the holidays. Some songs are festive and silly while others are quiet and reflective, reminding us of our savior’s birth and conveying the significance of the Christmas season. My favorite song energetically calls us to prayer, acknowledging our pain and recognizing our need for our savior. As I pack away the holiday decorations and turn off the Christmas music for another year, it is a Christmas song that still echoes in my heart.
My favorite Christmas song is when Harry Connick Jr. belts out the words, “I pray on Christmas, that the Lord will see me through.” It is probably not the most common Christmas song, but to me it is one of the most honest and most needed. There are no sleigh bells or new-fallen snow. No pretending that Christmas is the most wonderful or magical time of the year. Instead, the song echoes with petitions of prayer for God to see us through the challenges that we face. So why is this song so meaningful to me?
Struggles are real. Prayer requests that pour into our ministry reflect the pain the holidays can carry. Our hearts grieve for those who are absent from our festivities. Our families are pressured with busy schedules and limited resources to meet everyone’s expectations. Struggling relationships, difficult circumstances, and a lack of resources or support can clash with the unrealistic expectations during the holidays. In God we have hope that “That the sick will soon be strong.” The holiday season can be a time we are just getting through. "I Pray on Christmas" is a song that acknowledges the struggles of this life without sugar coating them or pretending they do not matter.
In "I Pray on Christmas," the singer names the pain and hands it over to God, trusting that he will work things out. There is a trust that God will walk along with the struggle and lead ahead to a better day. This song recognizes prayer as the connecting point to God. Prayer points us to God as the source of strength for getting through life. We need God to get us through another day.
In the song, the singer confidently seeks God’s leading, confident that he will answer. Sounding like a biblical psalm, the song stands on God's promises: “He'll show me what to do,” “He'll help me understand,” “God will lead the way.” The song does not question if God will show up, but rather asserts confidently that God will hear and attend to each request. When the singer prays to do God’s will each day, there is an understanding that God will equip him for the task.
As Christians, we live in the hope of the resurrection, yet in the context of a broken world. We have joy amid the pain, knowing that God still reigns. We look ahead to Christ’s return to put all things right. "I Pray on Christmas" looks ahead with hope for a better tomorrow knowing God is in control. The singer announces confidently “that the Lord will see me through.” There is peace knowing “He'll take me by the hand” and “All our problems gonna be worked out.” God, in his son, is showing us what love is about in every moment of grace. And the very best thing about Jesus' coming is that we can pray, thanking God “that I'll be with you in heaven some day!” We have the joy of God dwelling within us day by day and we have his assurance that the suffering of this world does not get the final word. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Rev 21:4).
If you have moved through this season praying for God to “get you through another day”, feel free to play the song and pray along!