Contemplation, Introspection, and Peace.
"And the angel said to them, 'Fear not, for behold, I bring good news to you of great joy, which will be to all the people. For today in the City of David a Savior has been born to you, who is Christ the Lord. And this is the sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths, and lying in a manger.' And suddenly there came with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying: 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased!'" ~ Luke 2:10-14 (BLB)
Last night began the season of Advent. Honestly, I find Advent to be such a precious time. For me, it's a lovely quiet time of introspection and contemplation on the unfathomable idea that God would send an infant to the world to show us all The Way and provide a way to usher us into His loving embrace, to welcome us home.
It kind of leaves you breathless.
I realize that for many, it can be one of the busiest times of the year, especially as it comes directly on the heels of Thanksgiving. But, what if instead of being influenced by the commercial frenzy of the world, we were to find a way to roll our recently renewed sense of gratitude into a beautiful awe in gratitude as we prepare for our annual acknowledgment of the birth of the Savior.
Maybe this year, and hopefully every year, we can find that wonder-filled stillness within to prepare our hearts, our minds, and our lives for the wonder and recognition of the birth of an infant King unlike any other; a child born among the animals of an innkeeper in Judea one long ago night.
Perhaps we can find our way to that serene anticipation, no matter what is going on in the world, or in our own little corner of the world. We have been given the gift of the Peace that passes all understanding, after all.
Why not tap into that very thing and eagerly but reverently await the acknowledgment of of one starlit night when everything changed?
Whether you choose to observe every single night of the Advent season, or occasionally become truly still, truly aware of the Gift that was given that night...
Either way, I believe God has you right where you need to be. He is reaching for you and embracing you, and there's something particularly beautiful in this season that allows us to know that sense of awe and peace and wonder and anticipation in our very cells and down to the tips of our toes.
Typically at this point, I compose a prayer for you from the heart, but today I feel led to something else.
Though I don't know the true origins of the prayer, the New York Life Insurance Company once released:
A Christmas Prayer
Let us pray that strength and courage abundant be given to all who work for a world of reason and understanding ❦ that the good that lies in every man's heart may day by day be magnified
that men will come to see more clearly not that which divides them, but that which unites them
that each hour may bring us closer to a final victory, not of nation over nation, but of man over his own evils and weaknesses
that the true spirit of this Christmas season ~ its joy, its beauty, its hope, and above all its abiding faith ~ may live among us
that the blessings of peace be ours ~ the peace to build and grow, to live in harmony and sympathy with others, and to plan for the future with confidence.
and... An Irish Christmas Prayer
☙ The light of the Christmas Star to you ❧
☙ The warmth of home and hearth to you ❧
☙ The cheer and good will of friends to you ❧
☙ The love of the Son and God's Peace to you ❧
All these things we pray in the most Holy name of Your Son.
This I pray for you, beloved of the King.
"And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth." ~ Luke 1:14
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." ~ Isaiah 9:6 (BSB)
"Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, And they shall call his name Immanuel... God with us." ~ Matthew 1:23 (ERV)
"And I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart." ~ Jeremiah 24:7 (KJV)
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.