Posted by: Philip Rushton | December 3, 2012

Preparing the Way: Daily scriptures for the Advent season

I stepped back into the office the morning after 2 weeks away and quickly found myself bombarded with lots of little things to do. I received email updates about people who were in the hospital, I had requests to pass on to our various deacon committees, and I started creating a long to-do list of things that need to happen over the next few weeks. The word that came to mind this morning as I wrote in my journal was the word “scattered.”

Perhaps you feel the same way. The Christmas season has a tendency to get away from us very quickly. The traditions around this season often snowball on us. They start small and accumulate over time. When you throw in Christmas parties, shopping, and mandatory family traditions on top of our already busy lives, life starts to feel full.

In order to regain some sanity this morning I dropped everything and went to the sanctuary to sit in silence for a while. It is a rhythm I try to maintain most mornings. Before I get going on the days tasks I try and carve out 30 minutes of silence, prayer and scripture reading in a quiet place. Maintaining the practice is difficult. I’ve learned that I cannot attempt this in my office, otherwise I find myself checking e-mails or making a call within a matter of minutes.

I reflected this morning on the story of John the Baptist. It is a fitting story for the beginning of Advent. John the Baptist’s role was to call people to prepare the way for the coming messiah. Preparation came in the form of repentance. The people who came to John the Baptist confessed their sins and gave their lives back to God.

This is really what the season of Advent is supposed to be. It is a time of preparation, a time to create space for God to come to us again. Historically, it is a time similar to that of Lent, a time where people make it a priority to listen to God.

To facilitate our preparation for Christmas I have put together a list of recommended scriptures for you to read each day during the season of Advent. The schedule begins today with the text from Isaiah that John the Baptist quotes. These texts include prophecies about the coming of the messiah, new testament teachings on repentance, and excerpts from the beginning of the gospels that talk about the coming of Jesus.

I would recommend slowly reading through the text and meditating on it for a few minutes each morning. Perhaps you might find guidance in using the REAP acronym for bible reading that I’ve introduced in the past:

READ: Read the scripture slowly and write down one of two verses that stand out to you
EXAMINE: Write down a couple of observations or questions you have about the text.
APPLY: Does this text provide instruction, encouragement, revelation, conviction? Write down what God is teaching you through the text.
PRAY: What is God saying to you in the text? What do you want to say to God in light of what you have read. Remember, prayer is a two way conversation.

In the handout linked to this post I have also included the steps to another process of meditation on scripture called Lectio Divina, Latin for the Divine Reading of Scripture.

As your pastor I simply want to echo the words of the voice who called out in the desert over 2000 years ago, “prepare the way for the lord, make straight paths for him.” I know I need to hear these words again. May we reclaim the purpose of Advent from the hectic urgency that the season imposes on us!

Below I have listed the texts for the next 4 weeks. I will also update the side bar each week with the updated list. You can also click on this link to open a word document that you can print out and place in your bible. Advent Readings List 2012 Handout

First Week

Mon: Isaiah 40:1-11
Tue: Matthew 3:1-12
Wed: 1 John 1:5-10
Thu: Romans 13:11-14
Fri: Jeremiah 33:14-16
Sat: Psalm 43:3-6

Second Week

Sun: Isaiah 11:1-10
Mon: Isaiah 61:1-3
Tue: Mal 3:1-6
Wed: John 15:1-9
Thu: Gal 5:16-26
Fri: John 1:1-8
Sat: John 1:9-16

Third Week

Sun: Zeph 3:14-17
Mon: Psalm 27: 1-4
Tue: Romans 15:4-13
Wed: Eph 5: 6-14
Thu: Luke 1:26-38
Fri: Luke 1:39-45
Sat: Luke 1:46-55

Fourth Week:

Sun: Isaiah 60:1-3
Mon: Isaiah 9:2-7
Tue: Mt 1:18-25
Wed: Luke 2:1-20
Thu: Mt 2:1-12
Fri: Luke 2:21-35
Sat: John 3:16-21

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Responses

  1. Thanks for the reminder, Phil, and I’m glad you’re home safely. Blessings….. Victoria

    ________________________________


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