Daily Bread December 20

Living in the Advent Moment
Barbara Howard of Independence, MO, USA

This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.'” -Matthew 3:3

I gather the huge stack of books to clear the table where Christmas decorations await placement. As I lift the books of worship reflections with tabs for Lent carefully marked, I realize I am moving too fast. The load falls from my arms.

As I kneel to gather the scattered papers and books, a sudden insight comes with force. I am not practicing one of the key rules to a spiritual life: Live in each moment.

Christmas is worthy of my full attention. While this does not mean I can’t prepare for Lent at various times during the holiday season, it does call me to awareness of the holy time of Advent.

I’ve been only dimly aware of the power of this season because I’ve focused so intently on the season that follows. I want to live each moment fully, and that means retraining my brain, which is so used to planning ahead.

My preparation and spiritual practices can keep me focused on the meaning of Christmas: to celebrate the birth of Christ, God coming to us in full humanity. This gift is at the heart of all Christian spirituality.

I place the Lenten books on the worktable in the office and return to sit in silence and gratitude for the blessing of Christmastime as a divine gift: God’s love for all humanity. Christmas affirms that unconditional love. The time of silence dissolves the anxiety of future responsibility. Love Incarnate lives in my moment.

Prayer Phrase

“Trust what is being born” (Stephen M. Veazey, Words of Counsel, 2019).

Spiritual Practice

Deepen your breathing as you enter a few moments of silent presence to God. Pay attention first to your own life as you gently ask and notice, “What is most alive in me right now? What is being born in me?” After a few moments of silent listening, ask these questions of your community, the church, and the world. Notice how the Spirit is revealing new life and possibility as you prayerfully ask these questions over time.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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