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  • Gail Edmonson

Advent Meditation - Week One


simple nativity scene

Each week during Advent, I host an online opportunity I call Advent Meditations. Although what I offer is a community experience, these meditations are great for your own personal reflections with the Lord during the Advent season. I’ve provided this week’s Advent Meditation for you (see below). My prayer is that we let God use this season to shape the ways we experience Him and incarnate His love as we serve others.


I have a dream that I have yet been able to accomplish. It is to have the Christmas gifts purchased, the Christmas tree up, and the house decorated – by the first day of Advent. My idea is that with all the Christmas tasks completed, I will be able to truly focus on the Advent season with few distractions. But again, this year I have not been able to accomplish my vision. Not by a long shot. I was feeling disappointed about this when the Lord reminded me that Advent is a season for preparation of my heart. And what better way to engage in Christmas shopping, decorating, parties, and planning than with a focus on preparing my heart in this season of waiting.


The Scriptures I have been focusing on this week as a way of preparing my heart are inspired from an Advent sermon by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In the sermon he says, “…this is the mir­a­cle of all mir­a­cles, that God loves the low­ly. God ​‘has looked with favor on the low­li­ness of his ser­vant.’ God in the midst of low­li­ness — that is the rev­o­lu­tion­ary, pas­sion­ate word of Advent.” I have reflected on this a great deal during the first week of Advent. That God loves me in all of my lowliness and mess as a human.


Advent Mediation – Week One

Set aside time alone to meet with God and meditate on the following Scriptures, art, and music.


Scripture Meditation


Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminds us that Mary “was not cho­sen because of any human mer­it, not even for being, as she undoubt­ed­ly was, deeply devout, nor even for her humil­i­ty or any oth­er virtue, but entire­ly and unique­ly because it is God’s gra­cious will to love, to choose, to make great what is low­ly, unre­mark­able, con­sid­ered to be of lit­tle value.…”


God is in the midst of our humanness.


Hold that thought as you quiet yourself in God’s presence.


Read the following Scripture and follow the bullet point prompts below.


“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.” (Luke 1:46-48a ESV)


• Listen – as you read the Scripture the first time, give your attention to the passage. Savor the words or phrases that stand out to you.


• Meditate – read the Scripture a second time, where does the word/phrase connect with your life right now?


• Respond – read the Scripture a third time, has the Lord addressed you in this passage? Allow the Scripture to lead you in response to Him.


• Invite – invite Christ into the lowly places of your life. The places where you don’t feel like you measure up, where you feel profoundly unremarkable, perhaps areas of your life you consider of little value. These may be places where you struggle to sense His presence.


Art – Redemption of Ashes (2018), by Meena Matocha


Use the links above to find the artwork by Meena Matocha. Gaze at the image as you read the entire Magnificat from Luke chapter 1. Then spend time in reflection with the Lord using the bullet points below the passage.


Bonhoeffer says, “The song of Mary is the old­est Advent hymn. It is also the most pas­sion­ate, the wildest, and one might almost say the most rev­o­lu­tion­ary Advent hymn that has ever been sung. This is not the gen­tle, ten­der, dreamy Mary as we often see her por­trayed in paint­ings. The Mary who is speak­ing here is pas­sion­ate, car­ried away, proud, enthu­si­as­tic. There is none of the sweet, wist­ful, or even play­ful tone of many of our Christ­mas car­ols, but instead a hard, strong, relent­less hymn about the top­pling of the thrones and the humil­i­a­tion of the lords of this world, about the pow­er of God and the pow­er­less­ness of humankind.”


“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” (Luke 1:46-55 ESV)


• How does the image deepen your understanding of the text?

• What is God’s invitation to you?

• Receive what God has shown you and rest in a posture of obedience and devotion.



Music – God With Us (Terrian)


Read the following, listen to the song, and then follow the bullet points below in prayer.


In his Advent sermon, My Spirit Rejoices, Dietrich Bonhoeffer says, “When we come to a point in our lives where we are com­plete­ly ashamed of our­selves and before God; when we believe that God espe­cial­ly must now be ashamed of us, and when we feel as far away from God as ever in all our lives — that is the moment in which God is clos­er to us than ever, want­i­ng to break into our lives, want­i­ng us to feel the pres­ence of the holy and to grasp the mir­a­cle of God’s love, God’s near­ness and grace.”


• Reflect on what you hear

• Respond to the Lord

• Rest and simply enjoy being in the presence of the Lord



If you would like to join me in online community for Advent Meditations, you will find more information at Advent Meditations. I’d love to see you there!


Photo by Gareth Harper on Unsplash

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Through the Unexpected Grace Blog I offer encouragement to help you engage deeply with Father, Son, and Spirit. I do this by posting some of what I am learning, along with resources for your journey - such as prayer practices, articles, books, workshops, and retreats.

 

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