December-- a month of counting down shopping days till Christmas, rushing to get the tree and house decorated, and fitting in parties and other seasonal social events? Or a season that includes times of quiet reflection, of preparing to celebrate Jesus' birth, of anticipating his return some time in the future?
Today is the first day of Advent, and I am pondering how I will manage my schedule over the next few weeks. I know I'll be preparing gifts, and since most of those gifts will be paintings I do, I will be occupied with that for much of the month. I enjoy doing that, as long as I don't leave it all for the last week. I hope to invite friends over for tea at various times in the coming weeks. And I do also plan to decorate the house and the tree.
But those things are not my first thought as I look ahead toward Christmas. I know if I'm not careful, these good activities will fill all my time, and I'll miss what I most long for in the depths of my being--connection with Jesus. Jesus, who was born to save us, so that we can live in relationship with God. Jesus, who came to earth in order to reveal God's great love for us. Jesus, who will someday come again to make everything whole and right.
Below is a daily prayer guide I wrote for this week, to help us draw apart from our busy schedules a little while each day for some quiet communion with our Lord. There's a verse or verses to meditate on each day, to ponder how it applies to us and what it reveals of Jesus. Let’s allow these verses to lead us into quiet communion with our Savior, so that we don’t forget him in the midst of this season that bears his name.
Monday: Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5
Ask God to guide and teach you, so that you can fully experience the hope he is offering you.
Tuesday: Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-- of whom I am the worst. 1 Timothy 1:15
Think about the sin that has separated you from God, and then thank Jesus for coming to set you free from that sin, opening the way for you to come into a loving relationship with God.
Wednesday: This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus... 2 Timothy 1:9-10
Meditate on the thought of Jesus Christ coming as a Savior, revealing God's grace for you.
Thursday: We have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 1 John 4:14
Ponder the fact that Scripture is full of eyewitness accounts of Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection.
Friday: He will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21
Let this verse run through your mind throughout the day, assuring you of the gift of salvation for all who put their trust in Jesus.
Saturday: Comfort, comfort my people, says your God... In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. Isaiah 40:1, 3-5
Meditate on and draw comfort from these timeless words of hope.