Christmas is, for so many, a time to connect with family. It’s a time when we gather with those closest to us, to reflect upon the miracle of Jesus coming to earth 2000 years ago, and to remember the joy, peace and hope that Jesus promises us each day. Together with our families we share food, exchange presents, make memories and cherish the quality time we have with one another. However, Christmas also presents a special opportunity for families to pray together. Through Christmas prayers with our family we can offer each other spiritual support, praying over events that have impacted the year passed and looking ahead to the year to come.
For those with family overseas, these intimate and treasured moments may seem far out of reach. But, while it may not be possible to gather with family physically, through small tweaks and some adaptations you can still bring these traditions and practices to life. This festive season consider using some of the following ideas to remain connected with loved ones across the world.
Make the most of technology
One of the great blessings of living in our modern age is the availability of technology at our fingertips. While you may be separated physically from family, when it comes to Christmas prayers for families, technology offers us many ways to remain connected. Whether it be through messaging services, phone calls or video calls, we are more equipped than ever to nurture our connection with those we love in places near and far.
During the Covid-19 lockdowns many churches began hosting events online. Many small groups and prayer meetings took place on online platforms. In addition, many friendship groups continued to connect through virtual means. While there was a physical distance we still managed to remain connected and we continued to support and encourage each other through a challenging season, fulfilling the command of 1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
Make time to invest in family
For many of us Christmas is a busy season. With social gatherings, Christmas parties and the logistical requirements of organising Christmas day, the festive season can be somewhat overwhelming. And, if we’re not careful, we can let time slip right before our eyes.
All this activity means that we need to be intentional about making time for family who are not physically present. Out of sight need not mean out of mind. Just because your family may not be with you over the holidays, you can still remain connected with some good planning and preparation.
Make virtual plans
One helpful way of doing this is to make virtual plans as if family were with you in person. Place value on your family by booking in a time to ‘catch up’ online, as if you were arranging to meet them in person. This means that, in the midst of a busy time, you will still be able to share in Christmas prayers with your family. You can continue to encourage them even from afar. As we read in Hebrews 10:24-25
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Another tip for praying with family overseas this Christmas is to think outside the box and get creative. Many of us are so used to online calls and catch-ups over the phone and they can easily become stale. But, rather than being discouraged by this, use your creativity to find ways to make connecting with those you love fun, fresh and filled with the Christmas spirit.
Rather than simply arranging a catch-up phone call with a family member, you could arrange to pray together for specific needs. While you may be separated physically, you can continue to offer spiritual support, interceding and praying for each other virtually. Prayer is just as powerful online as it is when you are in-person.
Another idea would be to ‘do’ something with family virtually. You could arrange to go on a walk at the same time as another family member. You could also organise something fun, like a group call, on which you arrange to play some games. Or you could share some prayer requests and a vision for the year ahead.
Have a think about what works for your family and look to bring some creativity to your online connection.
Christmas prayers for families
Whatever distance lies between you and those you love, you can remain connected. Through making time for your family, the power of technology and a bit of creativity, you can continue to support your family through this festive season.
Prayer is not limited to physical proximity. It is no less powerful when we pray in different parts of the world. Nor is its power diminished by praying online. God is not limited by time zones nor distance. And the promises He has for our relationships certainly aren’t reduced by living away from our family. He continues to hear your prayers and He remains faithful to you and your loved ones.
This Christmas, do not allow physical distance to diminish the power of connection. Continue to look for ways to remain connected with family abroad. And continue to ask God to show you how you can support your family spiritually this Christmas.
A prayer for those with family overseas this Christmas
Heavenly Father, I thank You for the gift of Your presence. I thank You that You are Emmanuel, God with us, even when we feel separated from our loved ones.
I pray Your blessing over my family who are overseas. Please protect them through the power of your Holy Spirit. I pray that, right now, they would know Your presence and experience Your peace.
I pray that You would unite my family and bring us closer together, even though we may be physically apart. Help us to support each other and pray for each other as we are reminded afresh of the miracle of Your Son, Jesus, coming to earth 2000 years ago.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.