These short thoughts for Advent are intended to be little prompts to spending a few minutes throughout the day away from the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives.
Sunday 3rd December
The first day of Advent – do I feel any different? The Gospel today tells me to watch and pray. I do pray, I say my prayers every day. Perhaps I need to find a few minutes to be still and to open my heart without the use of words, to the coming of the Son of God. Lord, I know that you are always near, let me hold your hand and walk with you.
Monday 4th December
Peace is so much needed in our word today. Am I a peaceful person? Does peace begin with me? Let me be free of any hatred and prejudice. Let me enjoy the vision of peace, seeing people of all ages, cultures and beliefs, living together in a just and fair society. Lord, I pray for the peace of the world, for peace in our own communities and for peace in my own heart.
Tuesday 5th December
There are many people in need of help and support. A lot of it is hidden. Adults without families. Some were orphans a long time ago, perhaps they have created their own families now or are alone in the world. Today, I pray for those without any family, who live alone and whose cry for help and friendship, I never seem to hear.
Wednesday 6th December
Jesus always showed his love and compassion for those he met. He never showed any prejudice or disdain. Am I worthy of the love of Jesus? Don’t be too hard on yourself but be open to Jesus working in and through you. Lord, help me with the problems that I have. Help me to breathe, to allow my heart to be filled with love and to spread your love.
Thursday 7th December
Build the city of God! The place where I live seems to have forgotten God. There is so much injustice, greed and selfishness around the place that it overshadows all the good that I know so many people are doing. How can I build the city of God? Lord, may I listen to your words and instruction. Teach me how to build my life on you.
Friday 8th December
It is a special day today – Mary’s Day. Mary – a woman of hope, so full of love and joy. “I am the handmaid of the Lord” said Mary, “Let what you have said, be done to me”. I need to spend time today being open and accepting to God. Lord I pray, that each and every day, I will listen to your will. Like Mary, may I have complete trust in you.
Saturday 9th December
The first week of Advent is almost over. Do I feel any different? Perhaps, I haven’t felt any change in myself, but others have seen it in me. Am I stressing over Christmas? I guess the worry and anxiety is part of the preparation for the coming of Jesus. Lord Jesus, come to me. Come into my heart, let me be an instrument of your love and peace in the world.
Sunday 10th December
The second week is here! It went quickly. Did I find a few minutes to pause, to be still and pray? No matter what happened last week, today is a new day and I can start again. I should spend some time reflecting on my life, its joys and sorrows. Let me get rid of the dark things that cloud over me. Let my heart be open to Jesus. Let him enter me and work in me today.
Monday 11th December
Sometimes I can be too hard on myself, too self-critical. I need to be kind to myself. In being kind to myself I can begin the journey of forgiveness – of forgiving others. Today, let me be open to forgiving myself so that in that openness I can forgive others.
Tuesday 12th December
It is easy to be lost in the world, either physically or in thought through no fault of our own. But what about those who are lost because they know nobody, they are all alone? Do I ignore people who I know are on their own, strangers in my town, refugees? I believe in God, but in doing so, do I share his love and compassion with others? May today be the start of me being more open and loving towards others.
Wednesday 13th December
Jesus never distinguishes between rich and poor, black or white, those who have and those who don’t. I do. I don’t always know that I am doing it, but it happens. Sometimes, I feel superior to those who do menial tasks or show no respect to those who have more than I have. Let me find time today to be more accepting of others and their situation. I pray today for the gift of humility.
Thursday 14th December
There are times when I challenge or do not accept other opinions and viewpoints. I often challenge the teaching and wisdom of Jesus, and don’t always realise that I am doing it. Do I allow myself to be enveloped in the love of Christ? What do I fear about his embrace? I pray today for the gift of acceptance. To be able to accept without fear the love of Jesus shown to me in so many different ways.
Friday 15th December
The end of another busy week. Amid all the hustle and bustle, the shopping and the singing, have I found time to think about the gift God wants to give to me? Am I open to accepting this wondrous gift without question? I can’t take it back if I don’t like it or if it doesn’t fit. I need to trust in God and be open to welcoming him and accepting his gift this Christmas.
Saturday 16th December
Hark a herald voice is calling. Calling who? Calling me! Am I listening? Every year I hear the familiar Advent words that Jesus is coming. Do I know what this coming means? Am I prepared in my own heart for the coming of Christ? Today, let me prepare by asking God for forgiveness through the sacrament of reconciliation. It may have been a while since I went to confession, and my sin list is quite long, but God’s mercy is free to all. Perhaps it is time for me to go and accept that loving mercy.
Sunday 17th December
Today is Gaudete Sunday meaning Rejoice Sunday. A time to draw breath, to rejoice on the Lord. He is near. How has my advent been so far? No matter how good or bad it has been, today I can rejoice in the Lord and start from scratch. The Lord is close, he is waiting for me. I can open my eyes again, and let joy overcome sadness, I can sing a new song. Today, like John the Baptist, let me be a witness to the light – the light to illumine the world. O Wisdom come – teach me the way of truth.
Monday 18th December
Surprise, surprise, God is our surprise! Joseph was given a great surprise when Mary told him she was pregnant. He was astounded, even to the point that to avoid scandal he should quietly divorce Mary. He listened to the angel and understood the message. He accepted the will of God. O come Lord, my leader and guide. Come to me and show me the way of patience, acceptance and understanding.
Tuesday 19th December
Sometimes my life feels empty. It feels as if there is a huge void. But God works miracles, and sometimes I don’t even recognise those miracles taking place around me and in me. Today, may I be more open and aware to the miracles taking place all around me. Come Rod of Jesse. Come, revive my life and my faith. Come Lord Jesus come!
Wednesday 20th December
There are moments when I am afraid and in fear – sometimes with good reason, but perhaps there are times I have fear because I do not trust. Mary got a shock when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her, but soon calmed down and listened to what Gabriel had to say to her. I need to be more patient, to listen in order to understand not just to answer. Those moments of fear and anxiety will gradually disappear. O come Key of David, open the gates of fear that I may walk in the way of faith.
Thursday 21st December
There is something beautiful and uplifting about meeting an old friend or neighbour particularly after a long time or journey. It’s great to catch up on each other’s news. Mary went to Elizabeth to share her amazing news and Elizabeth received it with great joy. From Elizabeth’s sorrow of being childless, came the double joy of bringing John the Baptist into the world and being an aunt to the Son of God. Today, Lord, let your joy overcome the sorrows and anxieties of my life. Come O Rising Sun and enlighten my darkness and those who sit in the shadow of death.
Friday 22nd December
The last working day before Christmas. People leaving work and going home to family and friends, but others will be alone. Some will have no home in which to celebrate Christmas, some will be far from home and loved ones. Today, I remember them and ask God for their protection and well-being. May I make my home in you Lord, just as you make your home in me. O King of all, come! Come protect and save us your people.
Saturday 23rd December
Advent is almost over. Tomorrow will be Christmas Eve. Am I ready for the birth of my Redeemer and Lord? Amid all the frenzy of today, let it be a happy day. I pray that I will not be too consumed by need and expectation by worry and stress. What will be, will be. Today, I will make time to stop to pray and say “Jesus is coming – I am waiting for Him!” O come O come Emmanuel, God-is-with-us, hope of the nations, bringer of peace, Saviour. I long for your coming.
Sunday 24th December
And so Christmas is here. It’s Christmas Eve but also the last Sunday of Advent. The joy of waiting and expectancy is almost over. Perhaps my Advent journey could have been better- too many distractions and false starts but the important thing is Jesus is coming and a new start with Him is all that I want and need. Together with Mary, Mother of God and my Mother also, let me ponder for a few minutes today on what is about to happen. In the stillness and silence of a snatched few minutes may I listen in order to understand what is happening to me now.
Monday 25th December – Christmas Day
“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of good will” Today my Saviour has been born for me. Yes for me. What a wonderful gift that God could love me so much to do such a wondrous thing. Today is a day to be joyful but I know there are people who cannot experience joy in their lives today. At some point today, perhaps before my meal, I will remember them in prayer, and resolve to do something positive and practical to share the joy of Christmas.
Tuesday 26th December – St Stephen’s Day
St Stephen was the first martyr. He loved the Lord so much and dedicated himself to helping those in need. Today, let me share the joy of Christmas in the spirit of St Stephen, by doing something of service to others. The Christian lives the surprise of the Incarnation in the small gifts of every day.
Wednesday 27th December – St John
For many people, Christmas is over and it is back to work. But in truth, Christmas has only just begun. St John wrote about love. “Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us” The emotion that comes from having something lavished upon us does not simply come to an abrupt end. We savour the delight; we live in the moment of the joy and the love we have received. God reveals himself in small surprises. There is nothing as small as a newborn baby. The love of the parents, the joy the child brings. Today may I bask in that love and share it with others.
Thursday 28th December – Holy Innocents
It is hard to believe that children and even babies could pose such a threat to King Herod. Innocent babies slaughtered all because he was afraid of the baby Jesus. The Holy Family had to flee to Egypt in order to be safe. God visits our darkness, the places where we think he could never be. We are not abandoned children, but infinitely loved. Today, I pray for those who feel unloved, those who live in fear, in exile, are refugees far from home. May the light of Christ illumine their hearts and minds.
Friday 29th December – St Thomas Beckett
On this very day in 1170, Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered in his own cathedral by agents of King Henry II. Thomas was a pastor of souls and defended the Church against the desires of the King. Like St Stephen, Thomas defended the Church and did all that he could to share the love of God with others. Today, may I live in the constant presence of Jesus for it is the source of immense joy.
Saturday 30th December
Christmas is tinged with memories both happy and sad. We remember our grandparents and older relatives and how we shared various Christmas traditions. Today, I want to remember those faithful elderly people whose trust and faith in God has been rewarded with eternal life. Lord Jesus, I pray for my loved ones in the heavenly homeland, enjoying the peace of eternal life. Thank you for their life here on earth and the love and joy that they shared with me.
Sunday 31st December – The Holy Family
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul. How many times have I said that in my life? Today I will say this line slowly and think of how Mary and Joseph gave themselves totally to God and took care of the baby Jesus. Let my prayer today be like that of Mary and Joseph, I give my heart and my soul for the glory of God.
Monday 1st January 2018 – Mary Mother of God
A new calendar year, perhaps a time to make resolutions. What better way to start the year than to be with Mary, Mother of God. Blessed Pope Paul VI said, “Our attention is directed towards the holy Mother of God and her part in the mystery of Salvation. It is through Mary that we have all received the Author of Life”. Today I will pray to the newborn Prince of Peace that through Our Lady Queen of Peace, there may be peace in our hearts, in our families, our local communities, and in the world. Jesus, bringer of peace, let me be a herald of peace.