By Ann Boyd

Advent Reflections 2022: Part 2

Looking Ahead

This year, as we’ve been talking with women in academia, we’ve heard one thing loud and clear: taking time for reflection is the first step in crafting a life that is satisfying, sustainable, and focused on the work God has called us to do.

We’re exploring a practice of short, manageable reflections together this month which you can enjoy in audio or written form, receiving them in the way that works best for your life. This is our second episode of our Advent 2022 series, so if you haven’t yet heard the first episode, give that one a listen first if you’d like some more context. 

You can find all the episodes in print form at The Well, if you prefer to read or write your way through, or in podcast form, if you prefer to listen and think your way through. You can choose to work through one guided reflection each week through Advent and into the weeks of Christmas and Epiphany, or you could work through them over the course of a week — or even set aside a bigger chunk of a day. There’s not a right or wrong way to go about this.

Click on the podcast below to listen in, or scroll down to read through, and download the questions for reflection.

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Notes from this episode:

Transcript

We’re exploring a practice of short, manageable reflections together this month which you can enjoy in audio or written form, receiving them in the way that works best for your life. This is our second episode of our Advent 2022 series, so if you haven’t yet heard the first episode, give that one a listen first if you’d like some more context. 

Before we get into our reflections today on the theme of “looking ahead,” I’ll refresh your memory on a few details. If you’re looking for the transcript, you can find it at our website, thewell.intervarsity.org. Look around while you’re there, rate and review our podcast, and consider donating to our ministry. We’re grateful for you! 

So as we enter into this second episode of reflection, let me invite you to breathe deeply. Take a few minutes to get quiet and open up to God’s presence in our lives. Whether you find yourself at work, at home, in traffic, or awake in the middle of the night, hear this truth and this comfort: the Lord is with you.

Let’s begin … by looking ahead. 

Heart. As you look into the coming weeks of Advent, what experiences would you like to enjoy with loved ones? Are there plans that need to be made to prepare for those? Are there any special experiences you would like to enjoy by yourself?

Soul. This December, how would you like to connect with God? What rhythms of personal prayer might you incorporate, realistically? What does church involvement look like for you this month?

Mind. As you wrap up the semester, what kinds of tasks need to be addressed? Are there professional or research goals you’d like to complete? If you have students in your life, how do you wish to end the semester with them?

Strength. December can be a busy month. What kinds of routines do you need in place in order to take care of your body? You could plan a weekly walk with a friend, monitor your alcohol intake at holiday parties, or commit to an extra-early bedtime at least three times each week. Check in with your body and see how you need to care for yourself.

Isaiah chapter 40 talks about the kind of anticipation we’ve been reflecting on. The text reads —

A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
    the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
    every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
    the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
    and all people will see it together."

Gather up your reflections for a moment, and give thanks to the God who teaches us to prepare our lives for receiving him wholeheartedly.


 

Photo by Tricia Gray on StockSnap

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About the Author

Ann is the Women Scholars and Professionals Podcast host and the managing editor for The Well. She has worked for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship since 1997, exploring her interests in community, spiritual formation, and writing. Ann has a BM in Music Education from Northwestern University and lives in Chicago, Illinois with one husband, two spunky teenage daughters, and three snuggly cats. You’ll often find Ann baking sweet treats in the kitchen while listening to a podcast or audiobook.

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