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Advent – A time to prepare our hearts for Christmas

A beautiful and simple way to prepare our hearts for the real meaning of Christmas is to set aside 10 minutes a day to reflect on a Scripture passage pertaining to the birth of Jesus Christ. “Praying with Scripture” is a way of reflecting on a Bible passage in which you encounter the Person of Christ. When we prayerfully ponder the word of God, the Holy Spirit makes a connection between the Bible passage and our own life.

Please use the “worksheet” provided on this page to pray with one of the following passages for 10 minutes. You may return to the same passage for your next time of prayer or move to another passage.

Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!’ But she was greatly troubled by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the Child to be born will be holy, the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

Matthew 1:18-25
Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her husband, since he was a just man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.
Two other Scriptures that you might want to pray with are Luke 2:1-20 and Matthew 2:1-12. The passage from Luke describes the birth of the Christ Child in Bethlehem and the passage from Matthew relates the details of the coming of the Magi to present their gifts to the Savior. Allow this Christmas to be different for you by growing in your relationship with Christ through spending time with his word.

By Anne Lankford
Director of the Office for Catechesis and Evangelization

How to Pray with Scripture

1. Read Read the passage out loud (if possible), slowly, simply to become familiar with it.

2. Reflect Read the passage again, silently.
Ask the Lord to let you read and “hear” it as if this was the first time; How would you re-tell this story in your own words?

3. Spontaneous Prayer Pick one person from the passage: _____________.Imagine that you are in this person’s “shoes.”
(Note: If the passage does not specifically name persons in its text, simply see if the words themselves evoke any particular feeling. Does it call to mind a previous, or presently occurring, incident or relationship in your life?)
A. How does it feel to be in this situation?
B. Does it remind you of something or someone in your life?
C. Is there anything you would say or do differently?
D. Have a “heart to Heart” talk with Jesus sharing your honest feelings about anything that has come to mind in reference to your reflecting on this passage.

It might be something that is weighing heavily on your heart, or something that moves you to a deep sense of gratitude and joyful praise.
Choose one word or phrase from this passage that has a special meaning for you __________________________.

4. Resting in God Read the passage again. Close your eyes. Think of your favorite picture of Jesus and LISTEN to HIM.
(Spend this time in simple silence, waiting and quietly listening for whatever the Lord might “whisper” in your heart.)

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