Advent, Week 1: Hidden Hope
As we enter into the Advent season of the liturgical year, we invite you to participate with us in an intentional time of worship, celebrating Christ’s coming into the world through the following verse, reflection, prayer, and practice. Isaiah 11:1-3 A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the lord. Reflection - Henri Nouwen I keep expecting loud and impressive events to convince me and others of God’s saving power…Our temptation is to be distracted by them…When I have no eyes for the small signs of God’s presence – the smile of a baby, the carefree play of children, the words of encouragement and gestures of love offered by friends – I will always remain tempted to despair. The small child of Bethlehem, the unknown man of Nazareth, the rejected preacher, the naked man on the cross, he asks for my full attention. The work of our salvation takes place in the midst of a world that continues to shout, scream, and overwhelm us with its claims and promises. Prayer We welcome you, small child of Bethlehem, whose coming we await with quiet attention. Shield us from the shouts, the screams, the empty promises of the season, and encourage us to turn our hopes to your coming. We know that the promise is hidden in the stable in Bethlehem and rooted in the offspring of Jesse; let us look for our salvation there. Amen. Advent Practice Today, look for one small sign that God is present in your daily life. Give thanks for his presence, and if he is absent, resolve to find out why. Adapted from Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen.