As we move closer to Christmas it’s easy to let the busyness of preparation hijack my attention and ability to be present to God, so I thought I’d share posts this week that will each focus on a different spiritual practice that might be helpful. It’s important for me as a spiritual ADD girl for sure, and I hope helpful for you too.
I love Mary (as in mother of Jesus Mary). Which is a little weird cuz I really bristle at some of what sometimes feels like the overboard Catholic put-her-on-a-pedestal-next-to-Jesus stuff.
She’s no shiny white above-the-fray-bullet-proof other-worldly woman.
But still. I think she’s amazing and I’m fascinated with her.
Every Christmas I love imagining what it would have been like to be her.
In wonder, I read her response in Luke 1:46-55 to the turn-her-world-upside-down-news she had received. Jesus is being formed in her. And she says,
“…my spirit rejoices in God my Savior”
Not, “my spirit rejoices that I’m an unwed teenager and pregnant (who could be stoned if my fiance chooses)” Nope. She marvels at God.
Mary has unshakable faith in the character of God, not fear of her circumstances (which clearly were baffling and troubling).
But she couldn’t have that unshakable faith in God unless she knew Him – His character and His faithfulness on a million ordinary days when an angel hadn’t shown up.
I’m struck by the “Mary choice” I have every day. I can start with my feelings and project onto God. (Circumstances are good so God must be good. Circumstances are bad so God must be bad). A bottom up approach.
Or I can start with the belief that the Bible is reliable and God is who He says he is – a good God who is sovereign and loves me. I interpret my circumstances in light of God’s character. A top down approach.
This is where Mary is. She starts with God.
So the practice I thought of today is Lectio Divina which is just a process of reading a passage of scripture four times and sitting with God in it…quiet and listening. I chose Mary’s song from Luke 1 to start the day with reminders of God’s character. So, if you’re game…
Sit silently and invite God to calm your spirit.
Rest in the assurance of God’s love for you and delight in you.
Read the following scripture slowly and circle or underline just one word or phrase that stands out to you.
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for He has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.”
Read the passage again and this time reflect on how what you circled relates to your life right now.
As you read the text a third time, ask “What might God be inviting me to be or do?”
Read the passage one more time asking God for the courage to respond as He leads.
Rest in the assurance that God loves you.
What spiritual practices are particularly meaningful to you in this season of Advent?