It’s the last day of the year that everyone wants to forget, looking with rationally unsubstantiated optimism to 2021. But anxious questions linger.
- Will the vaccine work?
- Will the economy recover?
- Will the populations of new unemployed survive?
- What is the final but still evolving shape of the “new normal?”
It is also the seventh day of Christmas. Apparently it was usual in ancient Celtic culture to gather mistletoe to drape over the entrances to homes at this time. Mistletoe was deemed to have mystical healing properties that absorbed and dissipated the negative and exuded positive properties as a blessing. When Christianity appeared, this practice was absorbed into prayers and house blessings for the new year to come.
These prayers were simple, spontaneous and warmly lyrical. Here is one sample, easily adaptable to modern living:
Bless this house, O Lord, we pray.
Make it safe by night and day.
Bless these walls so firm and stout,
Keeping want and trouble out.
Bless the roof and chimney tall,
Let thy peace lie over all.
Bless the doors that they may prove
Ever open to joy and love.
Bless the windows shining bright,
Letting in God’s heavenly light.
Bless the hearth a-blazing there,
With smoke ascending like a prayer.
Bless the people here within…
Keep them pure and free from sin.
Bless us all, that one day, we
May be fit, O Lord, to dwell with Thee.
Nevertheless, such a prayer is a challenge in these uncertain times. My wife and I are part of a failed “rent-for-life” scheme that is in liquidation. Since June 2019, the several hundred affected folk have been running an exhaustive and exhausting campaign for redress against criminal fraud and regulatory negligence. Many have lost their life savings. It has been all-consuming of time and energy and led to much desolation and despair.
Yet such a prayer invites us to anoint the very abode which is under dispute – our home – with the eternal covering of grace and protection that emerges from faith in the Most High.
It’s a Seventh Day of Christmas prayer. It’s a threshold prayer as we step from a tumultuous 2020 that overused the word “unprecedented” into a 2021 that is unknown, yet covered by all who live out a practiced faith.