What are you doing to prepare for the Christ child? There are so many ways that we can focus on the meaning of Christmas. Take advantage of at least one if not more.
Put unused items in a box to be delivered to the needy
Read your Bible every day. A good place to start during Advent is with Isaiah or one of the Gospels about the birth of Christ.
Take time to pray for your needs and the needs of others
Thank God each day for all that he has given you
Befriend someone who is alone
There are many more things to do…but focusing in these last weeks will make Christmas more special
Isaiah has a clear picture of what we wait for during Advent. We wait for Jesus who can show us how to live. His life is our path. Follow it.
Isaiah 61: 1-3 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
1 The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
Tonight I want to share the prayer I shared on my other blog https://worrylessjourney.com/2018/12/09/what-has-been-done-has-been-done/
It is a night prayer from the liturgy “Night Prayer” from the New Zealand Prayer Book. I have long love the prayer and have shared it before but it fits advent perfectly and is worth sharing again. I use it every night before sleep. Peace be with you.
it is night.
The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done;
let it be.
The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives
rest in you.
The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
all dear to us,
and all who have no peace.
The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day,
In your name we pray.
Some people have never heard of Advent. They may not be Christian or espouse any God at all but in this season there is a difference in the air. In the time building up to Christmas there is more focus on the needy and homeless. Collections are made for children, food is collected, the Salvation Army and others receive more help. We are more generous and there is a spirit of compassion abounding. It seems that advent calls for generosity and kindness.Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanakkuh or only the commercial aspects this season changes people The spirit of the holidays is around us and yes, it is something more.
Caring God, help us to carry this spirit into the new year. AMEN
Advent brings so much for us to ponder. What is the meaning of Christmas? How can I get ready for Jesus? What does this season mean to me? Can I stop long enough to remember what it is all about?
We have to look toward Christmas with a ready heart.
Loving God, help us to turn from the busy-ness and dwell on the gift of God. AMEN
This is the darkest time of the year. Jesus is the light that is coming to us. His light will shine and banish the darkness. In my church one more candle is lit each week to signify that light coming into the world. We are in the darkest time but that light will come!
Loving God, help us to wait with anticipation the coming light. AMEN
You may enjoy this song about lighting the four candles of advent.
In churches that follow that sort of pattern it is now Advent. The word “advent” is derived from the Latin “coming.” The dictionary says it is “the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.”
When we are planning for the arrival of someone or something important we usually spend time getting ready. If it is something good we are awaiting we anticipate it with excitement. In this case it is the arrival of a baby.
Waiting for a baby can be exhilarating and exhausting. We buy things for the baby, get a room ready, attend parties and get presents. We count the days.
These are all things we do in this season. However the season has run off the rails. We have forgotten why we are doing all of this. Stop and remember why we are waiting!
Advent is here and the theme of the thoughts for this season.
We are not good a waiting. Really, that is an understatement. We have a society of instant gratification. We want it and we want it now! When I worked for a group of pediatricians one of them said people expected a drive-by window where he would reach out and putting hands on the child say “heal.”
Advent is a time of waiting….waiting for the greatest gift mankind has ever had. Waiting for a baby. Expecting.
We must appreciate this time and use it. It is a time to ready ourselves for the gift!
Loving God, we wait. Help us to curb our impatience and use this time to think about the gift to come. AMEN
Psalm 27: 13-14
13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
We can see God. We see him in the faces of friends and family. We see him in the little happenings of each day. We see him in the world around us. We can even see him in suffering and pain. If we pay attention we can see him. Open you eyes to see!