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Resting in and Watching with Christ

A favorite antiphon found in our Compline service reminds me that our spirits move through the cycles of resting and watching:

Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.

We rest in the knowledge of God’s abiding love and presence, and we watch with Christ for the coming of God’s Kingdom.  Both images draw to mind anticipation and patience, for as we anticipate the coming of Christ, we are patient in our waiting, ever watchful for signs of God all around us.

Advent is the time of year when we anticipate the incarnation of God, waiting and watching for Christ to be birthed into this world.  It is a time of slowing down, of letting the quiet moments of the season speak louder than the hustle and bustle of the world, and a time of being intentional in our waiting.  While the secular realm wants to pull us into a frenzy of consumerism and holiday glitz, the sacred realm invites us to gently rest in the space where Christ will soon appear, in our hearts, in our homes, in our love for one another.

It is not easy to slow down and to take time to connect with God.  It takes discipline and an ordering of priorities.  It also takes some guidance.  In the Book of Common Prayer, there is a short section entitled “Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families”, found on page 136.  If you are textual-type of person, you might consider beginning here.  If you are more apt to use technology, I commend the following apps for your consideration (note, some of these are free of charge while others offer in-app purchases):

Mission St. Clare  An app that will guide you through the Daily Offices from the Book of Common Prayer.

Daily Prayer   An app from the Church of England that offers Daily Prayer from from both the Common Worship resource and the Book of  Common Prayer.  Consider also Reflections for Daily Prayer, a sister-resource to compliment this app.

Pray As You Go  An app that offers a short scripture reading, a reflection, and a piece of music for each day.

d365 Daily Devotionals  Short, daily prayers and reflections geared towards young adults and students.

Reimagining the Examen   A method of reflecting in the spirit of St. Ignatius, examining each day in order to bring to mind and heart the presence of God.

These are just a few of the many resources that can assist you in your resting and watching.  Give yourself a special gift this Advent by allowing the space to do both.