A note regarding these Advent reflections
What a beautiful day it is today to worship our Lord in expectancy, to take a posture of hopeful, glorious waiting. For our King is coming, His face shining with saving love for us.
These Advent reflections are designed to complement a daily devotional time you may already have. These daily guides are meant to flow from a time of worship that seamlessly ushers us into an honest and self-aware time of personal examination. Then, well move into scripture reading and meditation and allow that to inform how we intercede for those we love. There will be a suggested closing prayer you can pray along with, or you can use it to launch you into your own closing prayer. We’ll end our time with suggested questions or prayers to keep each day’s reflection in mind during evening prayers, as well as a prompt to start your day with the next morning.
You can feel free to utilize these Advent reflections in any way that draws you nearer to God’s presence, engaging only those elements that seem to challenge you or bring you life. The scripture references will be compiled and listed at the bottom of each reflection so you can return to them often as we journey together the next four weeks.
It’s a joy to be with you during this season of discovering our true longing for God’s irresistibility!
Lets begin today’s Advent reflection with worship. Spend some time soaking in this Psalm and allow your heart to turn to praise of the One who leads Joseph as if he were sheep, the One whose power awakens, the One whose face shines.
Psalm 80:1-7 Common English Bible (CEB)
For the music leader. According to Lotus Blossoms. A testimony of Asaph. A psalm.
80 Shepherd of Israel, listen!
You, the one who leads Joseph as if he were a sheep.
You, who are enthroned upon the winged heavenly creatures.
Show yourself before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh!
Wake up your power!
Come to save us!
3Restore us, God!
Make your face shine so that we can be saved!
4Lord God of heavenly forces,
how long will you fume against your peoples prayer?
5You’ve fed them bread made of tears;
you’ve given them tears to drink three times over!
6You’ve put us at odds with our neighbors;
our enemies make fun of us.
7Restore us, God of heavenly forces!
Make your face shine so that we can be saved!
After your time of worship, allow your heart to linger in silence before this great Restorer.
- What you bringing to this prayerful time with God today (worries, hopes, fears, etc.)?
- What are you most longing for Him to restore?
Allow yourself whatever time is necessary to for your core longings to surface.
Mark 13:33-37 English Standard Version (ESV)
33Be on guard,keep awake.[a]For you do not know when the time will come.34It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants[b]in charge,each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake.35Therefore stay awake for you do not know when the master of the house will come,in the evening, orat midnight, or when the rooster crows,[c]orin the morning 36lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.37And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.
Who is guarding your home? This parable of Jesus probably made more sense in His time than it does ours. Most of us don’t have doorkeepers. But that doesn’t matter so much as we ponder this passage today because we don’t have to imagine ourselves being rich enough to require a doorkeeper, we only have to imagine ourselves as the doorkeeper.
This passage very clearly challenges us to be awake, to not sleepwalk through life, to watch for the return of the owner of the house. And the call to be alert is rather sweeping! We are to watch in the evening, at midnight, in the morning, and even when the rooster crows (between midnight and 3:00 a.m.).
Jesus is calling us to live awakened and this call encompasses the entirety of our lives.
- As you meditate on this passage, what do you think Jesus meant by His warning of ‘lest he come suddenly and find you asleep’?
- Where might Jesus gently be prodding you awake?
- As you look back over the Our Longings self-examination questions you started with, do you sense any places God is calling you to awaken?
- Talk to God in prayer about these places of awakening.
Allow God to bring one person to mind and pray Psalm 80:2 over them. Ask God to wake up His power!
A Closing Prayer
I sense your power is awakening.
I stand in awe.
As I begin this Advent journey, help me to discern where I’ve fallen asleep. Help me to hear where you are gently prodding me to wake to your shining face. I don’t want to stay asleep!
Only you bring the light of dawn. Only you wake the world from night.
This Evening and Tomorrow Morning
- This evening, as you lay your head on your pillow to pray a final prayer of the day, take note whether you are bringing the same things to that time of prayer as you brought with you to this reflection. Has God already begun to move?
- When you awaken tomorrow morning, consider waking up with Psalm 80:2 as a prayer and purposefully carry that request with you throughout your day tomorrow.
Scriptures from Our Advent Series
Texts for First Advent Week: Isaiah 64:1-9; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37; Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18