Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
As I read through the readings for today there were a lot of things that came to mind in the first reading and the Gospel, but the psalm really stood out to me. We are still in the Christmas Octave, which means every day is treated like a feast day. In fact, each day is still Christmas. We should be joyful, celebrating and proclaiming the greatness of God in a special way this week.
But what if it’s hard to be joyful? Maybe you don’t have the best family situation and this time of the year reminds you of that. Maybe you’re single and surrounded by all kinds of cute, happy couples enjoying the Christmas season and it kind of makes you heartbroken. Maybe you lost someone really close to you and miss them this during this time. Maybe you have finals coming up soon. The list of things that can steal our joy could go on and on.
But joy does not equal happiness. A lot of times happiness comes with joy, but true joy is similar to true love in that it is a choice. It is not always an easy choice, but we have the power each moment to choose to be joyful. I was listening to a podcast that said joy is the certain expectation of our heart’s desire. So if we have faith the God will fulfill the true desires of our hearts, we can be joyful in that expectation.
A beautiful aspect of the Church is that it gives us season for everything! Advent is a season of preparation, penance and anticipated waiting. Christmas is a time for joy and celebration! No matter what each of us is going through, we can all rejoice that God humbled himself and became a human. Think about it: God became a human purely out of love for you.
We will have another season (Easter) to focus on what Jesus’s Resurrection meant for our salvation, but Christmas is the season to rejoice that God became man. Jesus was a man “in all things but sin.” The God who made the heavens loved you so much that He wanted to take on our human nature and give you an example to live by.
If you are like me and sometimes let the problems of this world steal your joy, remember that this season of Christmas (which really just began on December 25th) truly is a time to rejoice. We rejoice not necessarily because everything is going great, but because we have a Great God who loves us and would do anything for us. God's love for us should bring us great joy.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
What are some of the things thaat are on your heart this Christmas season? Is anything getting in the way for your joy? What is it? How can you give it over to our Lord?
What do you think is the difference between joy and happiness? How does Jesus promise us joy?
Where can you find joy in God's love for you?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"Joy, not happiness."
"Joy to the world!"
"Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!"
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with Lord bear fruit in you today?
Find joy today. Say a specail prayer asking God to bring joy to wherever in your life you are struggling.
Smartphone Lock Screen
The following image is here for you to save and use as a background or lock screen on your smartphone or device to help you carry today's Lectio Divina with you the rest of the day.
Today's prayer was prepared by Kayla Essner, a high school Math teacher in Cape Girardeau, MO.