During the Advent season, you are invited to spend time in reflection and prayer. There are many was to do that. Here are two that we suggest.
First, read the poem found in John 1. This will center your mind on Christ, and align your heart with his purposes for you.
Second, practice the form of prayer called Examen. This is an ancient, simple practice, that followers of Christ have found potent for centuries.
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Excerpted from John 1 (CEB)
In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
The Word was with God in the beginning.
Everything came into being through the Word,
and without the Word
nothing came into being.
What came into being
through the Word was life,
and the life was the light for all people.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.
The true light that shines on all people
was coming into the world.
The light was in the world,
and the world came into being through the light,
but the world didn’t recognize the light.
The light came to his own people,
and his own people didn’t welcome him.
But those who did welcome him,
those who believed in his name,
he authorized to become God’s children,
born not from blood
nor from human desire or passion,
but born from God.
The Word became flesh
and made his home among us.
We have seen his glory,
glory like that of a father’s only son,
full of grace and truth.
From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace;
as the Law was given through Moses,
so grace and truth came into being through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
God the only Son,
who is at the Father’s side,
has made God known.
1. Invite illumination: Do you want to see?
Begin your examen by lighting a candle or closing your eyes and picturing a light source. As you do that invite God (The Divine Light) to lead your attention during this time.
2. Give Thanks: Where have you experienced light?
Replay your day or week in your mind until your attention rests on something you are thankful for. Focus on that for a moment. Don’t rush or feel the need to linger. Stay long enough to allow yourself to become thankful for this moment.
3. Face your shortcomings: In what ways have you resisted light?
Again, replay your day or week. Allow your imagination to take you to a space where you have resisted light in yourself or in someone else. Face your shortcoming and feel the closeness of the Divine’s love.
4. Acknowledge your desire: Where are you longing for light?
"Where might I be longing for light?" Rest in this question. It is not unholy to have desires, even for material things. Continue to reflect on what your desires are behind those initial desires.
5. Look Ahead: How might you participate in light?
Move outward. Think about tomorrow and the coming week. How might you join in the divine light? Be practical. Bring your full self to this world by participating in the gift of light.