During this season of preparation, many of us spiritually long to make Christmas as meaningful as possible.  Yet sometimes our souls need encouragement in feeling God’s sacred invitation to be more intentional throughout our Advent journey.  Perhaps setting aside a couple of minutes each day to quietly reflect on what Christ’s Spirit is whispering to us could make the difference.

Here is your invitation to pause for one minute each day during Advent to read a verse from the Bible and a simple prayer.  These were originally compiled and written by Glen Stoudt in 2021 as an outreach from the church’s Spiritual Direction ministry and have been updated to include the Gospel stories of Jesus’ birth.

This third week of our journey toward Christmas follows Joseph’s ‘advent’ure as he wrestles with what it means to be righteous.  “Being a righteous man” is how he is described in Matthew’s Gospel story of the months leading up to the birth of Jesus.

Throughout these seven days, you are invited to notice the roots of your own faith and who you are becoming spiritually.  And like Joseph, you are encouraged to prayerfully look beyond what you may believe to be “right” so you can imagine how the Spirit might be nudging you toward greater possibilities to live compassion and kindness every day.

This is what “being righteous” looks like, feels like, acts like, and lives like.  Joseph chooses to become partners with God and with Mary, inspiring us to embrace our supporting roles in bringing Grace to life in our generation. 

May the Spirit accompany you on this final leg of your Advent journey and prepare your heart to respond.

Sunday, December 17 – Advent Day 15 (Matthew 1:16)
... and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.
Sacred Source of family roots and new beginnings, encourage me to appreciate anew where I’ve come from and how that has shaped who I’m becoming.

Monday, December 18 – Advent Day 16 (Matthew 1:18)
When [Jesus’] mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 
Holy Spirit, as Christmas approaches prepare my heart to welcome the unexpected gracefully.

Tuesday, December 19 – Advent Day 17 (Matthew 1:19)
[Mary’s] husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.
Compassionate One, help me realize that it’s not enough to only do what appears to be right, and inspire me to always be a grace-filled, compassionate presence with others.

Wednesday, December 20 – Advent Day 18 (Matthew 1:20)
... an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
Whispering Word, enfold me and my fears with your love,
and arouse me to risk sharing your love in Christmas acts of kindness.

Thursday, December 21 – Advent Day 19 (Matthew 1:21)
She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 
Living Saviour, may Joseph’s supporting role give me a vision of how I might help usher in your grace.

Friday, December 22 – Advent Day 20 (Matthew 1:22)
All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet.
May your ancient promises of incarnate love come to life in me today, Lord of all.

Saturday, December 23 – Advent Day 21 (Matthew 1:24)
When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took [Mary] as his wife.
Partnering Spirit, as these days of waiting linger, accept my “yes” and journey with me as I offer your goodness this season.