Initial note: to make the most of these devotionals it is suggested that the disciple does their best to enter into the Scripture as if hearing it for the very first time, in the presence of the very first hearers. Allow yourself to feel the location, and the message in a sensory manner. In other words live God’s Word. I have found that this approach can move us into what can only be described as a timeless place, where we can truly experience the slowing we seek in God’s presence.
Thursday, Day 4, December 1st
Lord Jesus, help me to slow down and to truly experience Your sacred Word, giving myself permission to take time and to allow the Scriptures to move in and through my spirit, soul, mind and body. In the precious name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen
Read Luke 1:26-38 Do not rush. Savor each word. Listen as the angel Gabriel speaks to Mary. You may want to read it several times, with no agenda but to simply hear God’s Word spoken into your heart. Allow the words to reverberate in your mind. Be open and aware of any thoughts and feelings; physically and emotionally without dwelling on them. Let yourself slowdown in God’s presence. Feel the slowing. When you feel fully recollected consider the thought that follows. Finally consider the questions provided. You may be drawn to journal your thoughts as you move through God’s Word. Be open to this direction as it comes upon you.
Thought: I imagine Mary as going about her usual business. She is at peace, maybe contemplating her upcoming marriage to Joseph. I always sense her to have a calm spirit, but now an angel with a strange, even disconcerting message comes to her. How could she feel a slowing as this experience unfolds? First Gabriel tells her of her favored and then her beautiful status in the eyes of God, followed by the proclamation of God’s presence with her. Then Gabriel tells her about the Son to which she will give birth. He will be great, called the Son of the Most High and the One who was prophesied as the Messiah from the house of David. Mary wonders how this can be and she is told that the Holy Spirit will come upon her and the boy will be called the Son of God. Then it is as if Mary’s eyes are opened, again it as though all had slowed down, and she is able to surrender to God’s plan for her life as she says, “Let it be with me in accordance to you word.”
Questions to consider: Do you sense a slowing in Mary as I do, which has allowed her to hear God’s calling on her life and to respond well, even though the calling is a difficult one? As you slow down this Advent season what might God be calling you to do in response to God’s Word in your life? Internalize Mary’s surrender. Say to God, “Let it be with me in accordance to you word.” Now, allow yourself to slowdown in response to your own surrender to God. How do you feel right now? You might wish to journal your responses to these questions for future reference.