An Advent Journey: Reflections for Weary Travelers — Day One

Today is the first day of Advent, Year B in the Common Lectionary. Today, we begin again on our annual travels through the 25 days of waiting leading up to Christmas Day. Before diving into today’s scripture and reflection, I wanted to remind us what is is we do during this season and why we do it. Here are words I wrote in 2011 for the Advent Journey section of this blog.

A daily journey through scripture, prayer, photos, exploring the time of waiting that we call Advent.

Waiting for what? For whom?

Waiting for Jesus.

Yes, we wait for the celebration of the incarnation, the birth of the Baby of Bethlehem. But we also wait for Jesus in other ways, at other times.

We wait for him to show himself, small and mild, in the situations of our daily lives.

We wait for him to show himself, wild and magnificent in the beauties of the world he breathed into existence.

We wait for Jesus to come again, to break the sky with glory and grace and to shout, “The strife is o’er, the battle won!”

These twenty-four days are set aside for us to turn asideto pull away a little bit from the over-commercialization and increasing noise of ‘Christmas’ as it’s celebrated in this crazy culture in which we live.

So for each of these Advent days, including Christmas Day, there will be a brief devotional in this space to remind us that waiting can be a good thing, a centering thing, a hopeful thing.

Even so, Lord Jesus, come.

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Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19, NRSV

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
    you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
  before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
    and come to save us!

Restore us, O God;
    let your face shine, that we may be saved.

O Lord God of hosts,
    how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears,
    and given them tears to drink in full measure.
You make us the scorn of our neighbors;
    our enemies laugh among themselves.

Restore us, O God of hosts;
    let your face shine, that we may be saved.

 But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand,
    the one whom you made strong for yourself.
Then we will never turn back from you;
    give us life, and we will call on your name.

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
    let your face shine, that we may be saved.

And so, we begin again. Today is the start of a new year on the Christian calendar, did you know that? Advent marks the beginning, every single year. Twenty-five days set aside to reflect on what it means to wait with expectancy and with hope. I think that’s a great place to begin again, don’t you? So you are invited to step into . . . waiting. And as we take that step, the words of the psalmist seem appropriate: “Let your face shine, that we may be saved.”

It is a very good thing to remember that we need saving. We are creatures who struggle, whether we like it or not! Life is rich, wonderful, blessed — but also, difficult, dangerous and exhausting. Finding our way through the thicket is tough work, work that requires a little help along the way, especially when the ‘bread of tears’ is choking us and looking very far into the future feels bleak and overwhelming. 

So, open your heart to the shepherd as we step out into Advent once again. Let the comforting steadiness of God’s presence guide you along the path that leads to Christmas Day. Remember that we have a Savior, and that he is good.

Lord Jesus Christ, our Shepherd, hear us when we pray1 Help us to step in synch with you as we begin this journey again in 2017. For we need saving, we surely do. From circumstances we cannot control, from people who wish us harm, from the most dangerous enemies we know — those voices of condemnation and anxiety that live right inside our heads. Deliver us, O Lord. “Let your face shine, that we may be saved!”

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Comments

  1. “Let the comforting steadiness of God’s presence guide you along the path that leads to Christmas Day.” Thank you for these words, Diana, that lend themselves to prayer. Praise God for his comforting steadiness during this hectic time of year. Praise him for his guidance away from over-extending and over-achieving into times of reflection and worship as we remember our Savior. A blessed Advent season to you, friend!

  2. I love the season of Advent, and am so looking forward to reading your daily inspirations, Diana.
    Blessings to you!

  3. Just getting around to reading this Thank you. Love your truthful, hopeful prayer. Amen!

Trackbacks

  1. […] resource links from the past. An online friend, Diana Trautwein, is starting her Advent Journey: Reflections for Weary Travelers and Bonnie Gray is Celebrating Advent, listening for God’s Whispers of Christmas.  Maybe […]

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