With all the noise in the world, do you hear the voice of God? Your calendar tells you what to do, but do you remember who you are? Being comes before doing. This is a call to put first things first. Return to the Lord with this daily pattern of prayer and devotion. Set aside this time as a sanctuary. Find a space free of distraction and follow this pattern.
Make the sign of the cross and say,
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
If you have an advent wreath, light the first candle and pray:
Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. The light no darkness can overcome.
Jesus, open our eyes to your light and our ears to your words of hope. Come, O long-expected Jesus. Our hope is in you. Amen.
Word: Isaiah 9:2
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; like those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
A midnight walk in the park may be dark but it’s not tzalmavet dark. Spelunk into the bowels of a cave, extinguishing every source of illumination, and experience being blanketed by black. Tha’t tzalmavet. Though traditionally translated “shadow of death”, “deep darkness” or “impenetrable gloom” are more accurate. Tzalmavet is dark on steroids. But of course, the darker the dark, the more blindingly beautiful the light becomes when it shines. Isaiah foresaw the age when the northern tribes, bruised and benighted by one foreign power after another, would spy the radiance of hope. “Those who dwelt in a land of tzalmavet, on them a light has shone.”
That light Matthew tells us, had two legs, two hands, and a mouth that preached, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (4:17). Jesus kicked off his ministry in Galilee, just as Isaiah had prophesied. He did not stand aloof from our sin-darkened world but dove headfirst and love-first into the bowels of our cosmic cave to be the light of the world, to lead us blinded sinners into the rays of grace, where we might behold a world illuminated by divine and enlivening mercy.
Prayer for Rest
· For physical, mental, and emotional health.
· For times of joy, delight, and leisure.
· For a Sabbath day free from work, tasks, and stress.
· For a holy time of worship.
Lord God, Heavenly Father, in this weary world, the valley of the shadow of death, grant me rest in your illuminating love and eternal life. Amen!