16 December 2020
Praying in Advent with
18, Wednesday 16 December 2020
Throughout Advent and Christmas this year, I am using the Prayer Diary of the Anglican Mission Agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) for my morning reflections each day, and the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar produced at Lichfield Cathedral for my prayers and reflections each evening.
Advent is the Church’s mindful antidote to some of the diversion and consumerism of a modern Christmas. It prepares us to encounter Christ again in his joy and humility.
In ‘The Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar 2020,’ the Dean and community at Lichfield Cathedral are inviting us to light our Advent candle each day as we read the Bible and join in prayer.
This calendar is for everyone who uses the Cathedral website, for all the Cathedral community, and for people you want to send it to and invite to share in the daily devotional exercise.
This is a simple prayer and bible-reading exercise to help us to mark the Advent Season as a time of preparation for the coming of Christ.
It is designed to take us on a journey, looking back to John the Baptist and Mary the Mother of Jesus; looking out into the world today, into our own hearts and experience; outwards again to Jesus Christ as he encounters us in life today and in his promise to be with us always.
You can download the calendar HERE.
The community at Lichfield Cathedral offers a number of suggestions on how to use this calendar:
● Set aside 5-15 minutes every day.
● Buy or use a special candle to light each day as you read and pray through the suggestions on the calendar.
● Try to ‘eat simply’ – one day each week try going without so many calories or too much rich food, just have enough.
● Try to donate to a charity working with the homeless or the people of Bethlehem.
● Try to pray through what you see and notice going on around you in people, the media and nature.
In addition, the award-winning ‘The Cathedral Illuminated’ is a spectacular light and sound show projected onto the West Front of the Cathedral. This year’s event, ‘The Manger,’ was due to begin today (16 December 2020), but all showings this evening and tomorrow have been cancelled. When it begins, it is epxected to continue until Tuesday next (22 December 2020). It is composed of beautiful imagery depicting everything ‘Christmassy’, the telling of the Christmas Story. This year, to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Dickens’s The Christmas Carol, a special piece has been created in collaboration with the Dickens Museum London to kick off the illuminations, created by the artistic collaboration Luxmuralis.
For years now, families have made ‘the Cathedral Illuminated’ part of their Christmas tradition and this year more than ever the Cathedral thought it important to offer a truly festive experience that is safe for people to attend. This year the event will be completely outside, with a safe one-way route created around the Cathedral Close and a significantly reduced number of time slots each evening.
Wednesday 16 December 2020:
Read Saint Luke 7: 10b-23 (NRSVA):
So John summoned two of his disciples 19 and sent them to the Lord to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’ 20 When the men had come to him, they said, ‘John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”’ 21 Jesus had just then cured many people of diseases, plagues, and evil spirits, and had given sight to many who were blind. 22 And he answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them. 23 And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me.’
How do you test what you see and hear and know it might be from God? And how do you stay alert to God?
Yesterday’s evening reflection
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org