Advent Meditation - Week One
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.
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