Daily Devotions
 

We are thrilled to once again be sharing a daily devotion with you for the season of Advent. These inspiring devotions have been written by YOU the members of Good Shepherd.  A sincere “thank you” to everyone who opened their hearts to share a small piece of their faith journey with us.   As we journey toward Bethlehem in this season, take time each day to walk with God and experience the stirrings of the deep love that took on flesh to walk with us.  

During the four week Advent season, each Wednesday our devotion will be a video reflection by Dr. Kevin Seal, Director of Worship and Music at Good Shepherd, as he shares a teaching about the Words and Music of Advent.

Each new day’s devotion will go live directly on our webpage, goodshepherd.com at 6am, (look under the worship tab at the top right of the front page) or you can follow the link that will be sent out later each morning in an email from Good Shepherd.  


Daily Devotion
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion

As we continue our journey through the season of Advent; a season of waiting, hoping, preparing for the coming of Christ, we ponder how to be ready when Christ comes among us.  This week our theme is “preparing our homes.”  We will look at some things that we can do to create space around us that will invite us into times of prayer and contemplation, and also call us to live lives that reflect the one for whom we wait. 

In the last nine months we have struggled through a lot of losses.  So many important events have been cancelled.  Vacations postponed.  Our arms ache to hug loved ones we haven’t seen. We long for the familiarity and comfort of gathering in our church again without restrictions.  One thing I will be grieving, deeply, is not gathering together on Christmas Eve. That is such a rich tradition and ritual for so many of us, it will be hard to not be together on that night. 

Before we despair too much, however, perhaps we can look for new opportunities that might present themselves this year.  Maybe there are new “COVID” Christmas practices that we can engage with that will continue long after we are back in the rhythm of gathering together again?  I would like to suggest a couple:

First, set up a sacred space in your house.  Yesterday I talked about decorating for Christmas, but is there a place in your home that could be a more permanent “holy space” that invites you to cultivate your friendship with God.  Maybe it’s a corner chair, or a space in a spare bedroom.  Maybe it’s a place in a busier part of the house that will quietly call you to pray many times during the day.

Over 20 years ago a friend made me a table that I have used as my home altar (see photo).  There, I keep a bible, devotional books, candles and other items that remind me of the sacred.  In front of the altar is a straight backed, wooden chair.  Just sitting in that chair puts me in a prayerful state.  On the wall above the table are Icons (holy paintings) that engage my imagination when I pray.  This space offers invitation to breathe deeply, rest and be mindful of the presence of God.  This space helps prepare me for God’s coming not just during Advent, but all the time.  It has become increasingly important to me during these days of isolation.  Where in your home might you create a holy space, and what items will help encourage your intention to spend time in awareness of God’s presence?

The second recommendation is to think through how you will worship at home on Christmas Eve.  Where in your house will you celebrate?  Who will be there, in person and virtually?  We will be providing a collection of ways to worship online.  We will equip you with candles so you can join in the singing of Silent Night.  While the worship service will include the reading of the Christmas story, will you start a tradition of reading that story as you gather together around the tree or before a special meal.  How will you pray for each other? Communion will be included in online worship, what logistics do you need to plan to be ready?  What time will all of this happen?

If nothing else, COVID has helped us rethink how our homes can be sanctuary.  Setting up a sacred place for prayer and worship will help us remember that “Emanuel—God with us,” is always present.

If you are reading Luke’s Gospel this month, today is Luke 8.   Here is the link:  Luke 8

 

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