(Editor’s note: The Messenger invited young people in every parish to write a Prayer for Christmas. The first three entries were selected as exemplary among their classmates. Then other notable prayers were added. More are added here. Following are some of the prayers we received.)
St. Joseph Catholic School, Olney, Third Grade — Dear Jesus, Thank you for the fallen snow. Thank you for the lights that glow. Thank you for the families and thank you for the Christmas trees. Thank you for the animals, and thank you for the wind that blows, Thank you for the fresh air, Thank you Jesus, you’re always there! Thank you for the Christmas colors and thank you for the sons and daughters. Amen.
Liam, Diana and Alex
St. Francis Xavier Parish School of Religion, Carbondale Fourth Grade — We celebrate Christmas because Jesus was born, this is why family comes together to celebrate. Jesus loves us and died for us. We thank you Jesus for bringing peace to the world and teaching us. Thank you for being the sacrifice for us. We thank God for Jesus and the gifts he gave us. Thank you for the presents and toys that we receive during Christmas.
We give thanks to the Lord for our family and God’s eternal love. Give thanks for the food that helps us grow stronger. Praise God for bringing us all together. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Holy Childhood Catholic School, Mascoutah, Fifth Grade — Dear Heavenly Father, There are rough times in my life, But I know you will always be with me. When my life is dull you add color, When it is dark you add light.
You are the only true God and I believe you can do anything. Thank you so much for sending your Son down from Heaven to Earth to take away all of our sins.
I wish I could be just like you and your son to be born. The gifts that you give me are all better than the ones I receive. And I try to do everything you tell me to do even when it’s tough. When I think about what I want to be when I grow up I think about you.
Other Notable Entries
St. Rose, St. Rose, Fifth Grade — I pray for all the families who won’t be together on Christmas; all the men and women serving our country who won’t be here for Christmas; the poor, weak and sick people who won’t get anything for Christmas; let people understand it’s more important to give than to receive on Christmas; let all the farm workers who are too busy to worry about getting to see their family on Christmas morning; and for all the families who have recently lost someone dear to their hearts let them forget about being sad and just enjoy being with their families on Christmas.
St. Joseph Catholic School, Olney, Third Grade — Dear God, I hope people stay safe and healthy and that we praise Jesus. I also hope no one ever gets bullied. I pray that no one gets hurt and that my brothers and sisters stay healthy. Also, that people who fought or are fighting in wars can stay safe. I also hope my brother and sister in heaven are doing well.
St. Joseph Catholic School, Olney, Third Grade — Dear God and Jesus, I want peace on earth on Christmas. I will pray round the Christmas tree with my family for you. Help us pray for sick people and share your message of God. Help us obey the Ten Commandments and sing and praise God and Jesus. Help us listen to God. Help us follow the Golden Rule. I will help people learn about your love. Pray for our Bishop, Father Ron, Father Jerry and Father Bill. Pray for my family to stay healthy and strong. I will be the best I can be. Amen.
St. Joseph Catholic School, Olney, Fifth Grade —
God, Everyone knows all over the world, That Christmas time is near. Everyone is blessed, With God’s
When we see the star on the Christmas tree, It reminds us of you.
We see the Christmas lights,
We think of your son too.
Help all the kids and me,
To finally see, We need to see your love, In each present under the Christmas tree.
God, help us to remember, That in Christmas time, The best present of all is, Your presence in our lives.
St. Joseph Catholic School, Olney, Fourth Grade — Dear God, Thank you so much for giving us your only son,
Jesus. I know that the wise men gave Jesus presents of gold, frankincense and myrh. I think that is why we get presents on Christmas. But, I know that Christmas is not about presents. Christmas is really about getting together with our families to celebrate Jesus’ birth. God, is it ok to be excited about presents? Please help the children in the world who don’t get any presents at all, the kids whose families can’t celebrate with them, and the kids who have to worry on Christmas. Thank you for giving me a home and everything I need so I don’t have to worry instead of celebrate. Help me to always remember the real meaning of Christmas and let it remind me to be like Jesus. Amen.
St. Rose, St. Rose, Third Grade —Dear Lord, O gracious Lord, I would like you to protect my family, friends, and my dog Sammy and her pups from the harsh winter coming up. Protect my families health. Protect my grandma. Protect my grandpa. Protect my father during the winter on the farm. Protect all the animals on my farm. Thank you for Jesus Christ the Lord. Thank you for God the father, Thank you for the Holy Spirit. Protect all people in the world. Protect all humans both young and old. Amen.
Blessed Sacrament Catholic School, Belleville, Third Grade —It’s been hard this year with the Paris attacks. People have lost their friends and family. It was hard for everyone, but bless them. Help the terrorist-just try to help them think, “What am I doing?” “Why am I hurting these people?” Help the people that are lonely and that are homeless. Help those that need shelter. Help the soldiers in the war. I will pray to you Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I will try to make it a good Christmas. Thank you,
Immaculate Conception Catholic School, Columbia, Fourth Grade — God, make this Christmas nice and fun, for all those who can’t afford a ton, make this Christmas easy too, for all those who can’t afford nice shoes. I want this Christmas to be great, so share the love and disintegrate hate. Amen.
Immaculate Conception Catholic School, Columbia, Fourth Grade —Thank you God for family and friends and for your love that never ends. Thank you for your mercy and love. Guide me so some day I’ll be with you in heaven above. Help me to treat others the way I want to be treated and help me to remember that on the cross, death was defeated. Help me to know that I’ll find joy if I’m nice to everyone, girl or boy. Happy Birthday to our savior, who was born in a manger. Thank you for our beautiful earth and help me to remember that the reason we’re celebrating is because of Jesus’ birth. So tonight as I close my eyes, help me to know you’ll still be with me in the morning when I rise. Amen.
Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic School, Belleville, Fourth Grade — Dear God, I pray for everyone to bring joy to the people who don’t have joy. Advent is coming and you’re supposed to have joy and peace. Advent is the spirit of giving not of wanting and about Jesus Christ and coming together with your family. The Spirit of giving is about giving and not complaining and if you don’t get what you want, you should think about the things you have.
I pray for all the hungry people in the world to have food and all the homeless to have homes. I pray for all the wars to stop and the people there to be safe. I pray for world peace. Amen.
St. Mary, Carlyle, Third Grade —Dear God, Happy Birthday. Thank you for this day. I pray for people that are poor. I pray for people that died. Please let the killing stop. I pray for the people that have no water or food and dry land. I pray for the people that died for us in the war. Please help the people that are sick.
St. Mary, Carlyle, Third Grade —Jesus, thank you for family and friends and the world, I hope this Christmas will be the best. I hope that this Christmas the poor will get money. The church will have many people and everyone will have a home for Christmas. Thank you Lord. Amen.
Holy Childhood Catholic School, Mascoutah, Fifth Grade — I want peace this Christmas because there is lots of violence where I am. I want the homeless to have a house and the sick to get better. Thank you for all you have done for us and the things you are doing now to make us happy. Please bring peace in heaven to those who have died. Amen.
Notre Dame Academy St. Augustine Campus, Belleville, Third Grade —
Thou shalt not be hungry,
Thou shalt not be hurt,
Thou shalt not be lonely
During Jesus’ birth
We gather together as a family
To state our belief. Everyone needs to be warm in this frigid season.
We shalt be together during Christmas to celebrate the season’s joy that brings us here. Amen
St. John the Baptist Catholic School, Red Bud, Fifth Grade — Dear Lord Jesus Christ, This Christmas, Jesus I pray for the less fortunate. Let them be accepted into your arms. Also let them be comforted and warm this cold winter. May those who are sick become healthy. Let everyone be satisfied. Give everybody food, shelter and warmth. Let everyone fall into your loving arms. Give mercy to those who are in need of thy mercy. May everyone be satisfied Lord Jesus Christ. Care for all. Amen.
St. Rose of Lima, Metropolis, Fifth Grade — Dear God, We ask you to remind us that this holiday is not just about presents and Santa but, about Jesus being born in Bethlehem, wrapped in swaddling clothes and born in a manger. It is a wonderful holiday for spending time with family and the Holy Family. Thank you for making yourself flesh for us. Amen.
SS. Peter and Paul Catholic School, Waterloo, Fourth Grade — Dear Jesus, I wish you a Happy Birthday. Please stop terrorists. Help the sad victims of violence, the poor and the suffering. Please help me follow you. I will always thank you and love you. I hope this year people will follow you, pray, say sorry and love all life and you. Amen.
Blessed Sacrament Catholic School, Belleville, Fourth Grade — This Christmas I pray that there may be peace in the world. Please help people to stop going around shooting others. I pray that wars all around the world may stop. Jesus, help this world to be a better place.
All Saints Academy, Breese, Fourth Grade — Dear God, Let kids read. Let kids eat. Let kids live for how they live and where they live. Lord hear my prayer for the kids all around the world. Amen.
SS. Peter and Paul Catholic School, Waterloo, Fourth Grade — Dear Jesus, Thank you for my family and thank you for me. You are so amazing! I love you because you were born on Christmas and your birthday is that day. Please help the suffering and the poor. You are special because you saved us from sin and rose from the dead. Help all the people that are doing crimes. Please forgive the people who are being mean. Help all of the people in the military. Thank you for making the world beautiful. Amen.
SS. Peter and Paul Catholic School, Waterloo, Fourth Grade — Dear Jesus, You are my savior, so you deserve what I’m about to say to you. I especially wish you an amazing magnificent perfect divine birthday. Jesus please help there to be more love, hope and faith in the world. Jesus, I thank you for all you have blessed me with. Jesus, please help all the victims of violence and all suffering and sad. I love you, Happy Birthday.
SS. Peter and Paul Catholic School, Waterloo, Fourth Grade — Dear Jesus, Help the people follow in your path. Help stop ISIS. Help the sad and the suffering. I hope people have a magnificent Christmas. Help people be better and start following you. Rescue people from their sadness. Save people from the underworld and bring them to your hands. You are the best, God. Amen.
SS. Peter and Paul Catholic School, Waterloo, Third Grade — Dear God, I am so excited that Christmas is almost here – people say it’s just about presents but I try not to get tempted by that. Each year our family welcomes our Savior. We love Jesus Christ. Thank you for sending Jesus down to the world and sending the Holy Spirit down. We love you Jesus and care for you. Thank you for coming to the world and dying for us. You are so special to me and I want to say thank you and Happy Birthday!
SS. Peter and Paul Catholic School, Waterloo, Third Grade — Dear God, You are the creator of heaven and earth. Please help the poor and provide food for them. Can you please stop wars? Please stop crimes God, can you help bad people become good people? Please help countries get along. I love you so much. I trust in you. I have faith in you. I believe in you. Please help me stop sinning. Please help me with my grades. Thank you for making us. Please help all people believe in you.
SS. Peter and Paul Catholic School, Waterloo, Third Grade — Jesus you are the light of the world. As we celebrate your birth may we begin to see the light and the faith you give us. As we try to spread peace throughout the world you guide us and love us. Jesus you are my Savior and you died for me and rose again on Easer. You have sent the Holy Spirit down to protect us. We will wait for your second coming. We wish you have a happy birthday and a good time in Heaven. Amen.
SS. Peter and Paul Catholic School, Waterloo, Fifth Grade — Dear Jesus, Thank you for coming down on earth to show us how to act loving and merciful. Also thank you for sacrificing your life for me and the world. We pray for all of the violence to end in the world. Also we pray for all of the people who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus. I ask that you watch over all the children that cannot find their families, also for the people who are in wars and to bless them and them then for their work. We pray for all the people who are injured and sick. Also I pray for my family to stay safe and healthy. We pray for all the people who don’t believe in you and please help them understand all the good things you have done. Please help me do what is right and help me make good choices.
Immaculate Conception Catholic School, Columbia, Third Grade — Dear Jesus, I thank you for loving me so much that you came to earth on Christmas Day. Help me to show Mercy to others in my life. Help me to spread Joy to everyone I know. Help me to Love all people that I meet and bring Peace to all the world. Amen.
Robert J. Fritz
St. Joseph Catholic School, Freeburg, Third Grade — Bless all of those who are in the hospital, and help them fight through their pain. Help the people who are in the army especially those who are in war. Bless all the people who are in nursing homes, homeless and poor. Help the people who are sick and have a disease. Bless the people who are dead and my they live in your faith. And thank you for all my friends.
St. Clare PSR, O’Fallon, Fourth Grade — Lord, we thank you for your son Jesus. He was your son born by Mary. Your light shines in the darkness of evil. Your love shines forever. Love helps others feel amazing in the glory of God. Help the sick. Heal the hurt. Keep the love for everyone. Love is a powerful thing. God is Love. God is light. God is good.
St. Bruno Catholic School, Pinckneyville, Third Grade — Heavenly Father, I pray for our school and all the people who serve it. I also pray for my family. I pray for our country and the people who serve our country. I pray for all the poor people. Please keep all people in the world safe from harm. I pray for the leaders of our country, that they can make good decisions. Also I pray for my friends. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
Blessed Sacrament Catholic School, Belleville, Fourth Grade — On the first day of Christmas God gave tome world peace.
On the second day of Christmas God gave to me family and love.
On the third day of Christmas God gave to me food and drinks.
On the fourth day of Christmas God gave to me education.
On the fifth day of Christmas God gave to me his life for us.
On the sixth day of Christmas God gave to me flowers and beauty.
On the seventh day of Christmas my God gave to me clothes.
On the eighth day of Christmas my God gave to me friends.
On the ninth day of Christmas my God gave to me Jesus.
On the tenth day of Christmas my God gave to me Christmas!
Blessed Sacrament Catholic School, Belleville, Fourth Grade — All I wan for Christmas is world peace. Stop all the bombing. I hope all people have homes, families and food this Christmas. May God bless them with kindness in their hearts. Merry Christmas.
Natalie J. Seibel
Blessed Sacrament Catholic School, Belleville, Fourth Grade — Thank you lord for life and for fields of grain.
Thank you Lord for all flowers a-bloom.
Thank you Lord for family, friends and you.
Jesus almighty looking down at us, guiding us, looking after us and staying with us in sorrowful time, thank you O Lord.
Thank you for this holiday season and for the Christmas flowers so bright and red.
Thank you O Lord for holiday spirit, for sitting by the fire so warm and bright, and for the celebrations of the birth of Jesus Christ. Amen.
St. Agatha Catholic School, New Athens, Fifth Grade — O Lord, please give all families on this Christmas peace and joy throughout their homes. Help then to realize that this holiday isn’t just about presents or no school. It’s about your birth and your coming to save us from all sin. Help them to be thankful for what you gave us, your life. To realize it’s not just about me, me, me. But please Lord help them to take some time to think about you. Give them your love now and for all times. Help them to pray and thank you for your sacrifice and your love for all people, so we may accept they can love all people and no matter what they look like or speak, so we may accept them just they way they are. Because you know we are equal and just. Please help people be just and give thanks to you and others.
Blessed Sacrament Catholic School, Belleville, Fifth Grade — Christmas time is season to pray. Well, here is a prayer for everyone in the World, Universe, Galaxy. I pray for my family, my shadows in the graveyard. I pray for Jesus, who is the son of Christ. I pray for my dogs, and y little sweet cats and all of the small little mice. I pray for random people of all ages, all sizes and all cultures. I pray for people in every cool country, and in every sunny state and every unique universe. This is my prayer. I could keep going on and on for a whole century, but it has to fit on one piece of paper. I just wanted to say, I want to pray for everyone in every Town, every State, every Country and every Universe.
All Saints Academy, Breese, Third Grade — I pretend I am a donkey that Mary rode on. I see you with my eyes in the stable. I touch your face with my wet nose. I hear you cry very loudly in the night. I hope the stable will provide you with warmth. I dream of how great you will be. I understand that you will be the Savior of the world. I wonder if everybody will love you as I love you. I want to be just like you in every way. I worry what will happen to you when you grow up.
St. Theresa of Avila Catholic School, Salem — Oh Jesus, today is going to be the anniversary of your birth and for that we celebrate your birth with feasts with our family by our side. As we gather with our families we spread the news of your birth to everyone. Some have forgotten what this season is truly about and for that we ask of you to bless them for they don’t know what they have done. Bless everyone with knowledge of this season and for all to spend this day in prayer with their family. Amen.
Immaculate Conception Catholic School, Columbia, Third Grade — Dear God, Watch over me on this Christmas night when your son Jesus was born. Make sure I don’t get to excited about presents. Help me to focus on the important part that your son Jesus is being born. Amen.
(We heard from hundreds of young people from many parishes across the diocese. We thank teachers, both classroom and PSR teachers for their efforts.)