Old Testament reading: Lectio Divina
Become still, and aware of God's presence.
God-who-is-with-us, help me to be fully present to you in this time of prayer.
Isaiah 7:10-16 (NRSV)
7:10 Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying,
7:11 Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.
7:12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.
7:13 Then Isaiah said: "Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also?
7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.
7:15 He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.
Read Isaiah 7:10-16 through once, slowly, listening simply for the sense and flow of the text.
Read Isaiah 7:10-16 again, more slowly. This time, listen for a word, phrase, or image that catches the attention of your spirit. You don't need to understand why; just notice it.
Read Isaiah 7:10-16 again. When you reach your word, phrase, or image, pause. Ask God, "What is your invitation to me, God, through this word/phrase/image?" Listen for God's answer.
What have you sensed the Holy Spirit speaking to you? Respond to God in prayer.
Finally, simply rest for as long as you want in the light of God's love surrounding you.
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19: A Guided Prayer
New Testament reading: Reflection
Romans 1:1-7 (NRSV)
1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
1:2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures,
1:3 the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh
1:4 and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
1:5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name,
1:6 including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
1:7 To all God's beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. When have you "received grace" through Jesus Christ?
2. When have you experienced "peace from God"?
3. When have you been given "power according to the Spirit of holiness"?
4. How are you called to be an "apostle" and a "saint," "set apart for the gospel of God"?
Matthew 1:18-25 (NRSV)
1:18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
1:19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.
1:20 But just when he had resolved to do this, 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.
1:21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
1:22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
1:23 "Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means, "God is with us."
1:24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife,
1:25 but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
Poem for Reflection
Excerpt from "The Inner History of a Day"
by John O'Donohue
We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into an eternal continuity that keeps us.
Somewhere in us a dignity presides
That is more gracious than the smallness
That fuels us with fear and force,
A dignity that trusts the form a day takes.
So at the end of this day, we give thanks
For being betrothed to the unknown
And for the secret work
Through which the mind of the day
And wisdom of the soul become one.
-from For Lovers of God Everywhere by Roger Housden (Hay House, Inc.; 2009)
God, in whom there is no darkness, only light:
when we are weary,
when our ways weary you,
warm us with fire of your Spirit
rekindled in our spirits.
Let your face shine upon us,
and your dreams grow within us,
until we are freed from fear
to turn toward the mystery
and the grace
and the peace
of Christ our Lord,
who is You-with-us.