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Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Sunflower Seeds

Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

A Christmas Prayer for 2023

(Photo by Nubia Navarro – Pexels)


Christmas is a celebration of the coming of Jesus into our world. What world? The world of Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago, yes. But also into the world of today, 2023. And into the world of our own personal life–wherever we may be. Here is a little prayer-poem I wrote about 10 years ago. I first posted it on my blog for Christmas 2016. I’ve “tweaked” it here for 2023.


“Prayer for Divine Intrusion”


God of infinite love, come into my life. Please?

Take my hand, walk beside me, pat me on the back when I need it.

When I fall down, help me to get back up. And when I am on my “high horse,” help me to get back down.

Encourage me, inspire me, disarm me.


(photo by Pixabay)


Broaden my vision. Expand my understanding. Remind me that I am a life-long learner.

Inflame my heart with love for all who enter the circle of my life–

those I am naturally drawn to and those I struggle with.

Listen to my cries, my sighs, my silence.

Say yes to me. Say no to me.

Feed me, need me. Hug me, bug me.

Give me the grace to say I’m sorry. Give me the grace to say I forgive.

Free me from the tendency to wrap around myself.

Enlarge my world. Direct my attention to things that really matter.


(Photo by Pixabay)

Give me ears to hear “the cries of the poor”:

those living in dire need, grave fear, chronic pain,

profound grief, and utter loneliness.

May I never become numb to the world’s pain.

Inspire me to find creative ways to bring more love and healing into our hurting world.

I know you love me as I am,

but keep nudging me to be a better version of who I already am.

Melt my coldness, smooth my rough edges.

Be with me, weep with me, dance with me, laugh with me.

Keep urging me to grow up. Keep urging me to be more childlike.


(Photo by David Orsborne – Pexels)


Bestow upon me an abundance of patience,

but never let me be completely satisfied with the way things are.

Deepen my trust in you. Increase my thirst for you.

I welcome you, Beloved Divine Intrusion,

to come into my life every day,

and into our beautiful and broken world.

Amen.

(Photo by Brett Sayles – Pexels)


For reflection:

Are there any words or phrases in this prayer-poem that stand out for you this Christmas? Do you know why?

Did you find yourself anywhere in this prayer?

Would you ask our “Beloved Divine Intrusion” for anything else this Christmas?




P.S. #1: We had a problem with sending out last week’s post to my subscribers. When you clicked on your email alert, many of you got the message: “This page cannot be found.” We hope we corrected that glitch. But remember, you can always easily access my blog by using your search engine (like Google). Simply type in something like “Sunflower Seeds blog” or “Melannie Svoboda blog” and my blog should come up. Thank you again for your patience!


P.S. #2: I will NOT be posting a new blog next Monday, Christmas Day. I’m taking a little break. I will post my next blog on January 1, 2024. Until then, have a blessed Christmas season! And I’ll see you again in the New Year!



I’m offering two videos of “Silent Night” for you today. The first is the stark rendition by Simon & Garfunkel recorded in 1966. It’s called “The Seven O’clock News.” The duo sings the song while the news is being read in the background. The news is very soft at first, but then it grows louder. The juxtaposition of this ancient hymn and the raw news of the day in 1966 is sobering. The topics on the news are eerily familiar to us today: discrimination in housing, fatal drug overdoses, tensions in Washington, conflicts within congress, unending war, peace demonstrations turning violent, the mass murder of innocent people, and the relentless strivings of the Civil Rights movement. This unique version of the “Silent Night” highlights our need for Jesus to come into every time and every place.

The second “Silent Night” is a sweet rendition by Claire Ryann Crosby when she was only 4-years old. (She’s 11 now). For me, it is extra meaningful to hear this beloved hymn sung so movingly by a small child.

Simon and Garfunkel:




Claire Ryann Crosby:

Once again I invite you to leave a comment below–on the prayer-poem, the photos, or the videos…

38 Responses

  1. Good morning, Sr. Melannie…
    Good morning, all…

    And a great big Merry Christmas!

    Melannie, your prayer/poem was beautiful on so many levels. The Divine Intruder has graced you with the gift of language, the gift of sound — “Listen to my cries, my sighs, and my silence” — and the gift of wisdom: “I know you love me as I am,/ but keep nudging me to be the better version of who I already am.”

    Your gifts are a gift to all of us, to all who read your blog each Monday!

    1. Sr. Melanie,
      I surely can resonate with your prayer, to ask God for disarmament… Of self, and for help dismounting my high horse.
      Now, to cooperate…
      Blessings,
      Pat

    1. Denise, It sounds as if the Spirit used my simple words to touch your heart… Thank you and God bless you too. Melannie

  2. Merry Christmas to all!

    I love the last 3 lines:
    I welcome you, Beloved Divine Intrusion,
    to come into my life every day,
    and into our beautiful and broken world.

    I also love Silent Night especially when I hear it in different languages. It reminds me our church is universal. We are one body though we may speak different languages.

    Thank you for sharing your talents, Sister Melannie!

    1. Paula, Like you, I am moved when I hear people singing the same song in their own language. At our international congregational meetings, we Sisters speak many different languages–such as German, English, Dutch, Indonesian, Korean, Swahili, Portuguese, etc. Sometimes we recite the Our Father at Mass each in her own language. Or we sing Psalm 23 together in various languages. That has always been a special experience of our oneness yet diversity. Thank you for reminding me of it! Melannie

  3. Hello Sister….I think there is a problem with the blog again. I did not get today’s blog in either of my email accounts (gmail/hotmail). I got last week’s on Dec. 11th and then Dec 12th got another one called “A Book of Joy”, in my gmail account. But worried why today’s did not come into either email. I searched for it on the website. I sure hope this is not another issue.
    Anyway, blessings for a very Happy and Peaceful Christmas!

    Christine

    1. Christine, Sadly, we’re still having problems with sending out my blog to my subscribers. It’s Tuesday morning as I am writing this, and I still don’t think my blog was sent out… I’m glad you searched to find my blog. Thank you for your willingness to do that. I still have hope the problem will eventually be solved. Melannie

      1. Sister, thank you for your prompt reply to my question. I’m so sorry you are still having problems sending out the blog, but rest assured, it will not stop me from searching on the web! That said, I reread your poem and decided that there was not just one thing that touched me. I could use improvement in everyone of the “graces” mentioned! And I am also glad you are taking some time off so you can truly enjoy the blessings of the season.
        I wish you, your family and your community of sisters a most Merry Christmas and a Happy, healthy New Year.
        P.S. I was amazed that a 4 year old child could remember all the words to Silent Night! I sometimes stumble over it myself! God Bless her!

  4. Dear Sr Melannie,
    Many thanks to you for your faithful service. You add so much to our lives! I read your blog and share it with my 89 year old mother. We so love hearing from you each week. That being said, I am so glad you are taking a break!!! Enjoy the holidays. May they be truly blessed.
    I look forward to hearing from you again in 2024.

    1. Pat, How wonderful that you share my blog with your dear 89-year-old Mom. I’m honored! And thanks for supporting my “day off.” Thanks for writing! Melannie

  5. Every word of this resonated with me. I really felt this poem in my heart. Am sending it to others I know – especially a friend who lost her spouse in April. Thank you for sharing it. It’s just beautiful.

  6. Thank you for the Christmas Prayer for 2023 and the Silent Night videos. All were inspirational. God bless you

  7. Melannie, I am so grateful that I received your Christmas Prayer this afternoon. It is so beautiful. Tomorrow, I want to print it so I can pray it every day before Christmas. What a gift you are to me! I pray that you can have a beautiful Christmas and I am so grateful I will get to see your email on January 1, 2024! I can hardly wait to see you in person in March here in Great Bend, KS. Bless you, dear one!

  8. Thank you for this beautiful prayer, and of course Silent Night. How we long for Heavenly Peace in these turbulent times.
    Blessings and Merry Christmas!
    (PS–your blog finally arrived to my email! But in my spam! I hope in the New Year it learns to arrive to my inbox. LOL).

  9. Sr. Melannie, your poem speaks of such love and brings us closer in perspective with God. It can often be difficult to stop, think, and consider what our relationship with God is. I struggle with a focus on a more contemplative, but reading these words over and over help me focus on a closer relationship. Thank you! God bless!

  10. Melannie. Thank you so much for the beautiful prayer. When I was up in Chardon the sisters were giving me the run through of locations so I wouldn’t get lost (didn’t work though). I came across wall hanging in Sr Janet’s office of Thea Bowman’s Every time I Feel the Spirit. That just really hit me. I loved it. I snapped a picture of it. JoAnne bought it and framed it for me and gave it to me for my 80th bd. So that picture is how I feel when I read and pray your poem. Thank you!

  11. Every word could have been written by me – If I had your gift, Sister, thank you for sharing yours. Christmas blessings to all!

  12. God’s gift to each of us on our own journey…..a gift that continues to embrace us with each an every step.

    Merry Christmas
    Father John

  13. Thank you so much for your inspiration. I have also printed out the poem to read when my family gathers a few days after Christmas. It so hits the spot. I am 81 and trying to learn every day. I will also share it with my Bible study friends at my parish. We are never too old to learn and grow in faith. I love everything about your blog. Hope your Christmas is blessed.

  14. “May I never become numb to the world’s pain…” How fitting this is, with countries at war, with starving and homeless people, with the dire situation in Ukraine, Israel and Gaza. My heart aches with the suffering that continues, with over 20,000 dead in Gaza. Come. O Lord. and set us free.” God, always keep me aware of the world’s pain, that I may never be complacent.
    Thank you, Melannie for your touching reflections.

  15. Thank you Sister Melannie. This was so beautiful, all, both songs. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  16. Deepest thanks, Sister Melanie for all you share. It has truly affected my Spirituality.
    I have enjoyed your songs, prayers, and inspirational pictures, etc.
    You have been a JOY and GIFT to me personally.
    I am keeping you in my prayers. With much gratitude, and love, Fran M.

  17. Melanie,
    I am so glad to be on your blog and share your wisdom, which seems to be in ample supply. I have ovarian cancer and am starting a new chemo tomorrow which has pretty substantial side effects. I would so appreciate inclusion in your intentions to the Divine Healer for the gift of humility and an abundance of Love as I continue on this journey.

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Hi and welcome to my blog! I’m Sister Melannie, a Sister of Notre Dame residing in Chardon, Ohio, USA. I’ve been very lucky! I was raised in a loving family on a small farm in northeast Ohio. I also entered the SNDs right after high school. Over the years, my ministries have included high school and college teaching, novice director, congregational leadership, spiritual direction, retreat facilitating, and writing. I hope you enjoy “Sunflower Seeds” and will consider subscribing below. I’d love to have you in our “sunflower community.” Thank you!

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