Step #1: Lectio / Read
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).
We’re more than halfway through Advent now, which is the perfect time to stop and take stock of how prepared our hearts are to receive Christ on Christmas morning. Have you been preparing your heart? Or have you (like me) skipped over Advent right to celebrating the Christmas season without really reflecting on what difference Christmas makes for your life outside of the presents and family and traditions?
Often in my mind, Christmas is little more than a celebration of the first time that Jesus came into our world. But in reality, during the Advent season, the Church is also looking forward to when He will come again. And during this time, we should be preparing our hearts for the ways that He comes to us every day.
When John the Baptist heard of the mighty works that Jesus was performing, he sent his disciples to Jesus to find out if He was the one to come. From his place in prison, John was seeking to prepare his heart for the coming of the Messiah. And I don’t know for sure, but I’m willing to bet that when his disciples returned to him with Jesus’ words, his response was one of faith and gratitude. I’ll bet that He didn’t doubt the signs that Jesus was working but responded by giving his life to Him.
Advent is a time for us to learn how to look for Christ’s coming in our lives, just as John looked for a sign that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. But do I seek for His coming in my life? And if He does work a sign in my life of His presence, how do I respond? Do I doubt even when I have seen His mighty works in my life and the lives of those around me?
My hope for you and for me this Advent season is that our eyes may be opened to the little ways that God is present in our lives every day: the text from a friend that makes us smile, the beautiful sight that takes our breath away, the cozy mornings spent with our loved ones. I hope and pray that we are able to respond with hearts that are ready to receive His coming.
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.
How have your been preparing your heart?
What are some of the little ways that God is present in your life each day?
What difference does Christmas make in your life outside of family, friends, and traditions?
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.
"Lord, prepare me."
"Jesus, I am seeking you."
"Lord, help me to see the ways you are present to me today."
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?
Be mindful of the little ways the Lord is present to you today. Let those small moments or things help you to prepare your heart for when the Lord does come again.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Catie Destatte, a St. Paul's Outreach Missionary at University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, MN.