Reflect: He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel, for he has remembered his promise of mercy. – From the Magnificat
Everything we have done and reflected on these past weeks of Advent has been based on God’s promise of a savior. Promises fill us with hope and expectation. They allow us to live in faith that beautiful things will come when we wait in God. Yet, our human nature often gets in the way of waiting peacefully for the promise to be realized. Living in anxiety and focusing only on the ultimate promise, takes away from the discipline of waiting. It is in this discipline that we work on our trust and faith in God. It is in this discipline that we learn to be servants and agents of the Creator, as we live to see his promises fulfilled in our lives and the lives of others.
Have we waited peacefully in His promise the past few weeks or have we allowed anxiety and humanity to rob us of the opportunity to be in relationship with God?
Take this week to refocus and be truly ready to receive his promise.
Households with adults and children:
Respond: When has someone made a promise to you and followed through? How did that make you feel and why? Choose something kind to do for someone this week and do it. Share with your family how it made you feel to be true to your word. Share your response with the other person(s) in your household.
Households with adults and youth:
Respond: If someone we love and trust makes us a promise are we able to relax and believe or do we feel anxious? Why is that? Go outside and pick up a fall leaf in your favorite color (or, if you are unable to go outside, talk about what your favorite fall leaf would look like and draw one). Did you have any doubt that fall would arrive, leaves would turn color, and drop? Why not? Exchange the leaf with another family member as a reminder that God is true to his promises.
Share your response with the other person(s) in your household.
Households with adults:
Respond: When have you seen God’s promises come to realization in your life? Did you peacefully or anxiously wait for that promise? Why? Write down one or many of your realized promises from God. Place these in a box somewhere prominent in your household as a reminder that God is faithful. Share your response with the other person(s) in your household.
by Aisha Huertas, Director of Mission, Outreach and Diversity for the Diocese of Virginia
Advent Wreath Practice:
Light a small candle, LED candle, or the fourth candle of your Advent wreath. Gather with your loved ones as you are able and offer this simple prayer:
Dear God, thank you for your promise of a risen savior and eternal love. Let us live in peace and not anxiousness and draw us nearer to you, as we wait for all of your promises to be fulfilled in our lives and in the lives of others. Amen.
Way of Love Connection:
REST: Receive the gift of God’s grace, peace, and restoration
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27
Blessed are you, O Lord … giving rest to the weary, renewing the strength of those who are spent. – Book of Common Prayer, 113
From the beginning of creation, God has established the sacred pattern of going and returning, labor and rest. Especially today, God invites us to dedicate time for restoration and wholeness - within our bodies, minds, and souls, and within our communities and institutions. By resting we place our trust in God, the primary actor who brings all things to their fullness.
In the next 24 hours, see if you can find a way to retreat and rest – even for 15 minutes – from all the hubbub. Ask God to give you a vision of the restoration and wholeness that is waiting for you in the love of Christ. Next, ask for guidance to be revealed in the New Year on how to remove those things that are blocking your restoration, and ask for courage to address them. Close your time of rest with a breath prayer of gratitude and hope.
Download a printable copy of this weeks reflections HERE.