By Ann Boyd

Advent Reflections 2022: Part 3

Staying Present

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 third 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 third 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 “staying present,” 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 third 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 staying present.

Heart. Think about the past twenty-four hours. Can you identify a moment of connection with someone you love? Give thanks for that moment and enjoy the memory of it. If it’s difficult to think of one, consider reaching out to someone — write a letter, make a call, set up a time to see one another.

Soul. The third week of Advent focuses on Mary and her joy. Listen to these opening lines from Mary’s song in Luke 1: 

My soul glorifies the Lord
    and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.

Open yourself to the Spirit and ask: How does my soul glorify the Lord right now? How does my spirit rejoice in my savior? Where have I noticed the way “he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant” in my life?

Mind. As activity increases throughout this month, distractions also begin to pile up in our minds. Give yourself the gift of focus for a moment, right now. Identify a word or phrase — perhaps something like “peace” or “goodness and mercy” or even the name “Jesus.” Hold that word or phrase in your mind, allowing yourself the rest that comes with deep focus.

Strength. Take a moment to feel your body. Focus on your toes, then the strength of your legs, up into your torso, through your arms and neck, and finishing with your head. God made us incarnate, with bodies, and he gave Jesus a body too. Give thanks for your body. Treat it kindly today.

Let’s listen once more to Mary’s words from Luke 1: 

My soul glorifies the Lord
    and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.

Gather up your reflections for a moment, and give thanks to our God who is mindful of his humble people, even in the midst of his glory.


 

Photo by Matt Bango 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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