The Archbishops have prepared a ‘Nine Lessons and Carols’ for the Christmas season that we can all use in our own homes. It is called ‘Comfort and Joy’ and takes us from Christmas Day to January 2nd. We can access it at: www.churchofengland/ComfortAndJoy and we hope many of us will use it in our own prayer.
But why wait for Christmas? As we look ahead to Christmas, we can use the Advent season as a time to develop good habits of reading and meditating on God’s Word, following the example of Christians through the ages. The word ‘Advent,’ of course, means ‘coming.’ It is a time to reflect on Jesus’ first coming, the ways in which he comes to us every day by his Holy Spirit, and our hope that he will come again to renew the world and the whole universe.
This week we are staying in the Old Testament, the basis of the whole New Testament, the words and world which formed those who wrote the New Testament. We are going to use some of the Psalms to help us in our prayer and reflection.
The psalms naturally lead us into prayer and praise, because they are prayers filled with praise! They are also one of the parts of the Old Testament most quoted in the New, on the lips of Jesus and of his apostles. In the Psalms they found clues to Jesus and his coming, who he was and who he is.
Each day there is a very simple format to help us: A passage to read and a question to help you reflect. There are always difficult things to grasp in the Bible - don’t get stuck on those, but it might help you to write your questions down and share them with someone else – things often become clearer when we talk them through with another Christian. There is also a prayer to use each day through the week to help us come closer to God.
Monday December 14th
Psalm 8 (see Hebrews 2 vv.5-9)
Reflect on Jesus’ coming as a man, a real human being. What does ‘Son of Man’ mean for you?
Tuesday December 15th
Psalm 2 (see Hebrews 1 v.5 and 5 v.5))
Hebrews challenges us to see Jesus as ‘the Son’ of this Psalm – who is Jesus in our faith?
Wednesday December 16th
Psalm 110 (see Luke 20 vv.41-44 and Hebrews 5 vv.1-10)
What do we make of Jesus’ question in Luke 20 v.44? How is Jesus both Lord and priest?
People who have been deported across hundreds of miles of waterless desert are promised that God will pour out his Spirit to transform their dryness. How does Jesus come to pour out God’s Spirit today?
Thursday December 17th
Psalm 22 (see Mark 15 vv.22-34)
Difficult words for us to hear, but clearly on Jesus’ lips as he dies. Do we forget the difficult parts of Jesus’ story at Christmas time?
Friday December 18th
Psalm 23 (see Luke 15 vv.1-7)
Perhaps the best known of all the Psalms. Take time to reflect on the fact that Jesus has come as a searching shepherd.
A Prayer for each day:
Praise to you Jesus,
Perfect Human Being,
Son of God,
Lord and High Priest,
For ever and ever.
And don’t forget to look out for next week’s reflections. Only one more week until Christmas Day!