By Ann Boyd

Advent Reflections 2022: Part 4

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 fourth 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.

We're so glad you're here!

 
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 fourth 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 “letting go,” 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 fourth 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 letting go.

Heart. As Christmas Day approaches, we’re faced with stark reality. Not every task will get done, and expectations can run high. What ordinary moments of connection with others will nourish you in the coming days?

Soul. As we approach the celebration of the birth of Jesus, meditate for a short time on his incarnation. Hear this sentence from John 1: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” As I repeat it a few times, consider each element of the sentence and give thanks to God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

Mind. Think for a moment about your work, your place of employment. Winter break may have begun for some, and for others the holiday reprieve is small to nonexistent. Whatever your circumstances, think about your work location — and bless it. Think about your room, your office, the hallways, your books, your texts, your computer, your phone — and offer a blessing upon it all. Christ came to offer peace — the angels sing, “on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Peace be to your workplace, today and evermore.

Strength. As Christmas approaches, give yourself the gift of rest. Even if it seems like your task list must be completed by a certain hour, the fact is: there is grace. Cross a few things off your list, even if they are undone. Turn in early tonight, or take ten minutes to lie down this afternoon — even if you don’t sleep, there are benefits to resting your body.

As we close, let’s look at some more words from John 1:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Gather up your reflections for a moment, and give thanks to the God who gives light and life, now and forever.
 

Photo by Aaron Burden 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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