PREPARE TO LISTEN
Light a candle and pray: The LORD is like the light of morning, like the sun rising on a cloudless morning, gleaming from the rain on the grassy land.
Request for Presence: May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us.
Be still and silent: Be aware of and then let go all distractions, both those from within (concerns about the day, etc) and those from without (uncontrollable noises).
READ Romans 15:7-13
Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will confess you among the Gentiles, and sing praises to your name”; and again he says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people”; and again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him”; and again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Advent is a time for us to also attend to one another. Not just the ‘one another’ as in those we like, live and pray with, but also to those unlike us and perhaps difficult for us to love. The mostly Jewish church of Paul’s day had to learn to welcome and love those formerly despised because so different to them, the Gentiles. Paul used the Old Testament to support the Christian requirement to love and welcome ‘the other’ in our midst as Christ has welcomed us. In doing so, we truly welcome Christ, experiencing his presence among us this Advent. Welcoming Jesus also means welcoming all those Jesus loves and receives, regardless of race, tribe, creed, gender identity.
Ask yourself: Who am I avoiding because I fear or distrust them? How can I welcome the other as Christ has welcomed me for the glory of God?
RESPOND TO JESUS IN PRAYER.
I’m deeply grateful, Lord Christ, that you have welcomed me into your family. I’m also deeply ashamed that I so often fail to show the same welcome to people around me. Through the power of your Spirit within, help me step out of my comfort zone and reach out to those I’ normally avoid. And all for your glory, Amen.
BE SILENT AND STILL (for as long as you want). Simply be in the presence of Jesus, who loves you, regardless.