Each year at Advent I ask God to lead me to a Bible character from the Christmas story to help me prepare my heart for Christmas. This helps me to focus on a passage from the Gospel and go deeper with it in meditation, prayer, and application.
I trust God to speak into my struggles and hopes through that character, as I view Christmas through his or her life. I read and re-read the Scripture passage related to that character and write meditations and prayers in my journal seeking to refresh my appreciation of the coming of Christ.
A Gift to Share
I’ve enjoyed sharing this devotional practice with others. Everyone loves the way it connects us with the Christ of Christmas and one another. It’s a delightful way to facilitate meditation on the Christmas story and spiritual conversation.
I developed nativity prayer cards to facilitate this group experience. Each card has a picture of the character and scene from the nativity (e.g., Mary, Joseph, innkeeper, angels, shepherds, sheep, wise men, and others), the Scripture reference, a devotional thought, and a prayer. I set these out on a table before people arrive. For added effect I put the card for each Bible character next to a figurine of that character from our nativity set. I may also put out an advent wreath and/or candles.
I have everyone gather and I briefly introducing each of the characters. Then we ask God to lead each of us to the Advent character and Scripture that we most need to reflect on. Depending on the group and the context I may allow five to thirty minutes for silent meditation, prayer, and journaling.
Then everyone has a chance to share what Bible character God led them to and why. Depending on the group and context I guide people in sharing with the whole community, a small group, or a partner.
Sometimes I include “Advent Breath Prayers” as part of this group experience. These are short prayers I’ve composed based on Scriptures related to each of the advent characters.
This experience has been a great blessing in Christmas celebrations, small groups, and retreats.
Soul Shepherding Advent Resources
I’ve written Devotionals and Prayer Cards for Advent which will prepare your heart for a fresh appreciation of the coming of Christ. Our booklet is for private devotions and small groups. The prayer cards work great for facilitating conversation at a holiday gathering.
This booklet and other resources are available in our online store.