“Advent is not about sentimental waiting for the baby Jesus. Advent is a time to focus our anticipation on “the adult Christ, the Cosmic Christ,” who challenges us to empty ourselves, to lose ourselves, to surrender.” Richard Rohr, Preparing for Christmas
In the hustle and bustle of the end of classes, finals, Christmas parties, and heading home it’s easy to forget to slow down and focus. Focus on the reason for so much celebration. I consider myself lucky to be at Baylor, where so many people- professors, coworkers, peers- are all reminding me to slow down, focus, and prepare. To help us slow down, focus, and prepare during Advent, we look to hope, peace, joy, and love to help us wait well for Jesus. We have written a few prayers to help us focus on these topics. Before you begin each prayer, sit comfortably, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing.
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.” -Jeremiah 33:14-16 NRSV
God of Hope, thank you for being the source of all our hope in every season. Spirit, open my eyes to the ways I can provide hope to my community. I know that I am filled with the hope from God by the power of the Holy Spirit, and because of this hope, we can live with confidence as we await the promised final coming. Prepare my heart for the season of Advent. Amen.
For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
-Isaiah 9:6 NRSV
Prayer from St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; and Where there is sadness, joy… Divine Master; Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
-Luke 2:9-11 NRSV
Creator God, thank you for the great joy that I have in Jesus. I know that my joy is rooted in the hope and confidence I have in you, a consistent and never changing God. Allow me to be aware of the ways I can bring joy to my community in this season. Sustain me with joy. Amen.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
Lord, thank you for giving me Jesus as the ultimate example of love. Grant me the eyes to see the people around me who need a little extra love this season, that they may see Jesus through me. Help me to love those I find it hard to love, that they may see Jesus through me. Remind me that love is the reason for the hustle and bustle of this busy time and to take time to intentionally love those closest to me, that they may see Jesus through me. Amen.
Remember to slow down, focus, and prepare your heart for Jesus this season. There is so much good to be found in the Advent season, but it can easily be lost in the busyness that we make for ourselves. Here at Baylor Missions, we are thankful for the students, staff, and global partners that so readily provide hope, peace, joy, and love to the world around them in the name of Jesus Christ.