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).
I’ve always had a deep love for small towns. There’s something about their quaintness and simplicity and their sense of community that brings peace to my heart. I’ve grown up in the midst of large cities, where it’s easy to fade into the background or get lost in the hustle and bustle. I’m not saying big cities are bad, and I think they offer so many incredible opportunities. However, I also think there is something special and unique about small towns that can reflect on our own hearts, particularly in these final moments of Advent.
Bethlehem was a small town, in fact “too small to be among the clans of Judah.” And yet from this small town comes forth the Messiah, the savior of the world. All of history, through the entire Davidic line, led us to this one small town. When the long-awaited Messiah arrived, people were expecting more of a warrior-king. I doubt they expected him to come from a small, insignificant town, like Bethlehem. Maybe you see yourself as small and insignificant in this big world or in the grand scheme of life, but the Lord works great wonders in this world through the small and in the seemingly insignificant. In humbling ourselves and making ourselves small, we are preparing a place for the Lord to dwell within us, as He came to dwell in the little town of Bethlehem.
In this Advent season, we are reminded of the slower pace of small town living and invited to slow the pace of our lives too. These last 48 hours of Advent are sometimes the craziest - whether you are traveling or doing last minute shopping and cleaning or welcoming family into your home. Wherever you find yourself at this point in the advent season, allow your pace of life to slow down, even if only for an hour or so. It is in those quiet moments that we find the peace and harmony which the Lord brings into our world on Christmas.
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.
In what small things do you find beauty?
Where in your life do you need peace?
Where is God working small miracles 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.
"Lord I need you."
"Lord I see you in the small."
"Help me to slow down."
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?
Today, at the end of the day make two lists. First, where today did you feel overwhelmed or stressed? Invite Jesus into those moments. Second, where in the small miracles did you see God in this?
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Today's prayer was prepared by Maggie Overbeck, Director of Youth Ministry at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Huntley, IL.
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