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27 Christmas blessings and prayers to share with loved ones

Take a moment to reflect on the reason for the season before you dig into your holiday meal.

On Dec. 25, Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The weeks leading up to Christmas Day are often a flurry of activity, including everything from gift buying to preparing for huge holiday meals to be enjoyed with family and friends. Taking time to pray is a gentle way of restoring our focus on the true reason of the season.

Whether you choose to pray silently or out loud, at home or in a place of worship, prayer is a powerful way to share in the joy felt on the day of Jesus’ birth, in particular that of Mary, his blessed virgin mother. You can speak to Jesus using your own words or choose more formal prayers that have been recited by countless faithful believers for decades or even centuries.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of short Christmas blessings and prayers that focus on Jesus’ earliest days on Earth. Reflect quietly on some of these religious words alone or pray them aloud with family and friends as you gather on Christmas Day. And if you really want to set the tone, play some Christmas hymns in the background as you read these words.

  • "O sweet Child of Bethlehem, grant that we may share with all our hearts in this profound mystery of Christmas. Put into the hearts of men and women this peace for which they sometimes seek so desperately and which you alone can give to them. Help them to know one another better, and to live as brothers and sisters, children of the same Father. Reveal to them also your beauty, holiness and purity. Awaken in their hearts love and gratitude for your infinite goodness. Join them all together in your love. And give us your heavenly peace. Amen.” — Pope John XXIII, “The Christmas Prayer”
  • “Loving Father, help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and worship of the wise men. Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts. May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children, and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake. Amen.” — Robert Louis Stevenson, “A Christmas Prayer”
  • “Ah, dearest Jesus, Holy Child, make thee a bed, soft, undefiled, within my heart, that it may be a quiet chamber kept for thee. My heart for very joy doth leap, my lips no more can silence keep, I too must sing with joyful tongue, that sweetest ancient song. Glory to God in highest heaven, who unto man His Son hath given. While angels sing with pious mirth, a glad new year to all the earth. Amen.” — Martin Luther
  • “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” — Isaiah 9:6
  • “The day of joy returns, Father in Heaven, and crowns another year with peace and good will. Help us rightly to remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men. Close the doors of hate and open the doors of love all over the world? Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil, by the blessing that Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clean hearts. May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children, And the Christmas evening bring us to our bed with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.” — Henry Van Dyke, “A Prayer for Christmas Morning”
  • “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” — John 3:16
  • “Dear God, Thank you for all the fun and excitement of Christmas. Thank you for the amazing nativity story, that tells us about the birth of Jesus. Thank you for sending us your Son, a gift from you into this world. As we look at the lights on the tree, remind us of the light Jesus brought to this Earth. When we sing songs and carols, remind us of the hope Jesus showed everyone. And as we open the gifts and presents, remind us that Jesus was the best gift ever. Help us to share special times with family and friends this Christmas, And to share the light, hope and gift of Jesus to the world.” — “Christmas Prayer for Children”
  • “Let the just rejoice, for their justifier is born. Let the sick and infirm rejoice, For their saviour is born. Let the captives rejoice, For their Redeemer is born. Let slaves rejoice, for their Master is born. Let free men rejoice, For their Liberator is born. Let All Christians rejoice, For Jesus Christ is born.” — St. Augustine of Hippo, “Nativity Prayer”
  • “O God, you have caused this holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light: Grant that we, who have known the mystery of that Light on earth, may also enjoy him perfectly in heaven; where with you and the Holy Spirit he lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen. — Online Book of Common Prayer
  • “Let Your goodness Lord appear to us, that we made in your image, conform ourselves to it. In our own strength we cannot imitate Your majesty, power, and wonder nor is it fitting for us to try. But Your mercy reaches from the heavens through the clouds to the earth below. You have come to us as a small child, but you have brought us the greatest of all gifts, the gift of eternal love Caress us with Your tiny hands, embrace us with Your tiny arms and pierce our hearts with Your soft, sweet cries.” — St. Bernard of Clairvaux, “Christmas Prayer”
  • What can I give him, poor as I am? / If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb / If I were a wise man, I would do my part / Yet what I can I give him / Give my heart.” — Christina Rossetti, "In the Bleak Midwinter”
  • “Come, thou long expected Jesus, / Born to set your people free; / From our fears and sins release us, / Let us find our rest in thee.” — Charles Wesley
  • “And you, Mary, the Virgin of expectation and fulfillment, who hold the secret of Christmas, make us able to recognize in the Child whom you hold in your arms the heralded Saviour, who brings hope and peace to all. With you we worship him and trustingly say: we need You, Redeemer of man, You who know the hopes and fears of our hearts. Come and stay with us, Lord! May the joy of your Nativity reach to the farthest ends of the universe!” — Pope John Paul II, Christmas 2003
  • “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” — Isaiah 7:14
  • “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” — Matthew 1:21
  • “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” — Luke 2:11
  • “Purify my conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in me a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” — Book of Common Prayer
  • “O Lord Jesus Christ, true God from true God, you became a little child for us so the world you made would be saved. Just as a child is born to us and a Son is given to us, may we be born again through you and always remain in the number of God’s faithful children; through your merits, O blessed Savior, with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, one God, now and forever. Amen. — Mozarabic Collects, ed. Rev. Chas. R. Halle
  • “O God, you make us glad by the yearly festival of the birth of your only Son Jesus Christ: Grant that we, who joyfully receive him as our Redeemer, may with sure confidence behold him when he comes to be our Judge; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.” — Online Book of Common Prayer
  • “Almighty God, grant that the new birth of your Son in the flesh redeems us from the old slavery under the yoke of sin, so we may receive him with joy as our Redeemer, and that when he comes to judge we may see Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.” — Wilhelm Loehe
  • “Lord God, heavenly Father, we give thanks that in your great mercy and compassion you allowed your dear Son to become incarnate and through him redeemed us from sin and eternal death. Enlighten our hearts by your Holy Spirit that we may always be thankful for such grace and be comforted in all trouble and temptation, and at last, obtain eternal salvation; through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one true God, now and forever. Amen.” — Veit Dietrich
  • "Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and to be born [this day] of a pure virgin: Grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.” — Online Book of Common Prayer
  • “May your soul, like a mystical bee, never abandon the little King and may everything within it be for Him.” — St. Francis de Sales
  • “On this day of joy, we are all called to contemplate the Child Jesus, who gives hope once again to every person on the face of the earth. By his grace, let us with our voices and our actions give witness to solidarity and peace.” — Pope Francis, Christmas 2016
  • “Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires (mention your intentions here), through the merits of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.” — St. Andrew’s Novena (Christmas Anticipation Prayer)
  • “The feast day of your birth resembles You, Lord, because it brings joy to all humanity. Old people and infants alike enjoy your day. Your day is celebrated from generation to generation. Kings and emperors may pass away, and the festivals to commemorate them soon lapse. But your festival will be remembered until the end of time. Your day is a means and a pledge of peace. At Your birth heaven and earth were reconciled, since you came from heaven to earth on that day you forgave our sins and wiped away our guilt. You gave us so many gifts on the day of your birth: a treasure chest of spiritual medicines for the sick; spiritual light for the blind; the cup of salvation for the thirsty; the bread of life for the hungry. In the winter when trees are bare, You give us the most succulent spiritual fruit. In the frost when the earth is barren, You bring new hope to our souls. In December when seeds are hidden in the soil, the staff of life springs forth from the virgin womb. Amen.” — Nativity Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian
  • “The things of God can wait, we think and we say. And yet he is the most important thing, ultimately the one truly important thing. Why should we not also be moved by curiosity to see more closely and to know what God has said to us? At this hour, let us ask him to touch our hearts with the holy curiosity and the holy joy of the shepherds, and thus let us go over joyfully to Bethlehem, to the Lord who today once more comes to meet us. Amen.” — Pope Benedict XVI, Christmas 2012