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.
A Booklet of Advent Devotionals
I’ve written gathered these Advent prayer cards and expanded on them to write an Advent Devotional called “Experience the Birth of Christ Anew.” This is for individual or group use.
I’d be happy to offer this booklet to you or your friends. (It makes a wonderful Christmas gift!) To receive your copy just make a tax-deductible donation of any amount to Soul Shepherding. Then send me an e-mail to request the booklet, “Experience the Birth of Christ Anew.” We will send you the Advent booklet (a pdf document) right away.
Donations to Soul Shepherding provide counseling and spiritual direction for pastors, missionaries, and their wives. They also support SoulShepherding.org which receives over 600 pages views per day. Thank you!
Bill Gaultiere, Ph.D. & Kristi Gaultiere, Psy.D. ~ SoulShepherding.org