Weekly Advent Readings (Week 2)

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 week the readings focus on Mary’s “Advent” experience as told in Luke’s Gospel.  In these few verses, Mary awakens to the realization of what it means to “find favour” with God.  In fact, the word “favour” is used three times here - Sunday, Tuesday and Saturday.  And you will be invited to imagine yourself hearing a heavenly voice mysteriously calling you “favoured.”

Now “favour” may not mean what you think.  It may not ensure endless happiness, success or security; nor promise that you’ll always be right, respected, or inspired; nor protect you from sadness, sickness, or selfishness; nor make you immune to deceit, disaster, or even death.  What “favour” does though, is to enfold you in the warm, welcoming embrace of the Holy and entrust you with nurturing the goodness and grace that is being conceived and born within you.  That is, when you are willing to imagine how you and Mary have more in common than you may ever have thought possible; that her faithfulness lives in you as a spiritual legacy, a sacred trust that God hears you, and believes in you, and trusts you to bring love to life in this generation.

Our faith community prays that your Advent season is filled with favour, as the Spirit accompanies you on the journey.  May the Prince of Peace bless you and be and with us all.

Sunday, December 10 - Advent Day 8 (Luke 1:28)
And [the angel] came to [Mary] and said, “Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.”
God, help me trust the heavenly whisper this Advent, that you also consider me favoured.

Monday, December 11 - Advent Day 9 (Luke 1:29)
But [Mary] was much perplexed by [the angel’s] words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
When I’m feeling perplexed, Lord, welcome me and my pondering heart just as I am.

Tuesday, December 12 - Advent Day 10 (Luke 1:30)
The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.”
Sometimes I’m afraid of what I imagine you are asking of me; be with me, Caring Spirit.

Wednesday, December 13 - Advent Day 11 (Luke 1:34)
Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”
Creator, how can this be? In a world filled with such chaos, why invite me to be your partner?

Thursday, December 14 - Advent Day 12 (Luke 1:35)
The angel said to [Mary], “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy.”
Most High, during this Advent, overshadow my good intentions with your grace.

Friday, December 15 - Advent Day 13 (Luke 1:38)
Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”
Lord, here am I; touch my heart and I will become someone who bears your love.

Saturday, December 16 - Advent Day 14 (Luke 1:46-48)
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, 48 for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.”
Loving Saviour, may your saving promise to me fill me with gratitude and enthusiasm.