You are invited into a time of spiritual reflection and prayer in this Advent season—a season of waiting and listening, a season of expectation and hope.
O Lord, let me not conform to the ways of this world, but transform me by your Holy Spirit; renew me mind and heart that I may discern and do Your Will—what is good and acceptable and perfect. AMEN.
FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT
December 3. What are you praising God for?
TAKE A MOMENT OF SILENCE as you begin.
“My soul magnifies the Lord. And my Spirit rejoices in the Lord.” Luke 1:46
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God.” Isaiah 61:10
REFLECTION from Marie Wonders
I am one that struggles with having a grateful heart. I am more likely to see what is wrong or missing than to perceive what is going right. Keeping a gratitude journal or thanking God for what I “should” be grateful for – well, it never brings me to a true place of thanks. It just seems like one more situation where I feel shame for not feeling what I am supposed to be feeling. Gratitude often feels disingenuous to me. What about problems, sin and brokenness? Isn’t gratitude, in the face of injustice, just sweeping reality away by choosing to feel good? In the past month, I found a new way to pray prayers of gratitude and I share it with you in the hope that you can be genuinely transformed by gratitude as I have this past month.
Prayers of gratitude. “It is important that these prayers aren’t simply reflexive lists of what one “should” be thankful for, like lists of 5 things every day or reminders that there are people starving in other countries so they should be grateful for what they have. Instead, spend some time meditating each day on the joys that you naturally enjoy. Ice cream, the way butter melts in a pan, the feel of hot water in the shower, the way the blue of a friend’s eyes shone or the warmth of a dog beside them. These moments of simple gratitude that rise from the heart can be pondered and given thanks for. As soon as the list gets abstract (a roof over my head, enough money in the bank), it’s time to put down the exercise in prayer for another day. Sometimes these moments of genuine, heart-felt gratitude stretch for a long time, and others are over in a few minutes, but this type of attention-giving to what has been beautiful or joy-filled in a day helps one stay grounded in the gifts of the moment.” Retrieved on November 30,2017 from http://www.anamcara.com/2014/06/the-ennegram-prayer-type-four/.
PRAYER. Lord Jesus, we know that you are the best gift, given most generously. As we make our lists of what to prepare and buy for Christmas, help us to also make our gratitude lists. Give us eyes to see and hearts to feel true gratitude for all that we have. Thank you for the gift of Jesus. AMEN.
TAKE A MOMENT OF SILENCE as you close.