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).
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the depths of Advent.
Christmas is only days away, school is wrapping up, the college kids are home, and for some, all that’s left is to relax and wait for Christmas.
So how’s your heart?
Advent is a time to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ, to empty them and begin building a manger in our hearts. The goal is to turn our hearts and minds toward what matters most, to build a place for Christ to reside this Christmas season.
I don’t know about you, but at the time of writing this my heart is definitely not ready. I’m stressed, I’m tired, I’m still running around trying to buy gifts, and I find myself filling my free time with social media more than prayer and silence.
While the image of Christmas being that still, holy, perfect silent night is a beautiful one to meditate on, the first Christmas may have been very messy as well. Baby Jesus crying in a cave, laying on bales of hay in a manger because literally no where else would take Him and His family. Joseph being slightly unprepared for all this and perhaps feeling responsible as a result, maybe even feeling a tad overwhelmed by it all.
The first Christmas wasn’t perfect, nor should it be. So as Christmas draws nearer, don’t be afraid to be imperfect. Don’t be afraid to let the Lord enter your mess, your fears, your heart just as it is. You don’t have to be perfect; don’t let your desire to be perfect get in the way of the good God has planned for you right now.
Jesus came down to Earth just to have a chance of being with you and loving you for all of eternity. So as Mark Hart said, "if there’s something holding you back, something inside you hesitant to believe all this, what else would God have to do, once and for all, for you to believe from the bottom of your heart, without any doubt, without fear, that He loves you?"
If you can think of something, ask him. If you can’t think of something, tell Him. And if there’s something you’re holding back, don’t be afraid to tell God. He already knows. Journal about it, pray about it. Write this down, and spend time talking to God about it. He already wants, more than anything, to take it from you and give you all the love in the world in return.
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 that are preventing you from being ready for Christmas? How can you give those to God today?
What are some of the "messes" in your life? How can you invite God into them?
How can you strengthen your faith this Christmas and truly let yourself believe?
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.
"O Come, O Come Emmanuel."
"Jesus, I trust in You."
"Prepare my heart, Lord."
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 the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Make the manger in your heart ready for the Lord. It doesn't matter if it is still a mess or not, just open the door and prepare some room today.
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 Tatiana Schaffer, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying Engineering and Psychology.
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