Spiritual Practices

The Peace of Advent

Scripture for this week:

December 9         Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 26:1-4, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
December 10      Psalm 37:1-11, Luke 7:36-50, Luke 2:8-14
December 11      Psalm 29, Ephesians 2:13-17, Colossians 3:12-17
December 12      Isaiah 40:1-11, Matthew 5:1-10, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
December 13      Isaiah 55:8-12, Luke 3:1-6, Luke 10:38-42
December 14      Luke 3:7-18, John 14:25-27, Philippians 4:4-9
December 15      Zechariah 9:9-10, Colossians 1:15-20, Hebrews 12:14-17

“Peace” is a common word tossed around during Christmastime, but it seems to be an uncommon experience in most of our lives throughout the season. In fact, many would probably admit that they feel MORE frantic and worried during the holidays, not more peaceful.

Some of that comes from the never-ending “noise” in our world – commercials and ads, social media posts filled with friends and families who seem more “put together” than us, relational stress, calendars that are packed to the breaking point… this is not news to anyone.

How can we step away from the things that crowd out peace in our lives and open ourselves to the true source of peace – Jesus?

This week’s practice will focus on fasting. Fasting is essentially giving something up for a period of time to create space for God. So in the spirit of stepping away from the things that crowd out peace, here are some ideas of things to fast from during this week.

  • TV/Netflix
  • Shopping
  • Sugar/Christmas treats that don’t serve our physical bodies well
  • Social media
  • Actual noise, by practicing 5-10 minutes of stillness. (Set a timer, sit quietly and focus on the presence of the God of peace.)
  • An overfull schedule (Say no to an engagement that’s not necessary.)

There is no “right way” to do this. You could choose to pick one thing from the list to fast from all week, or you could select one or two things and fast for a couple of days from each of them. The key is to be intentional about stepping away from the “noise” that crowds out peace.

As we mentioned earlier, when you fast, you create space. Here are some ideas of things to do with the space regained through fasting.

  • Choose to be fully present with friends or family in an intentional way.
  • Take time to learn about and pray for one of our Advent Conspiracy partners.
  • Go to bed early and get a full eight hours of sleep.
  • Spend time reflectively rereading John 14:25-27 or Luke 10:38-42 from this week’s Scripture plan.

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The Scripture reading plan and practices are also available in the YouVersion app. It’s called Practices of Advent (from Blackhawk Church.) You can also download and print the reading plan to keep in your Bible. (linked to the attached PDF)

We will continue to post the weekly readings and practices each week on our blog. Subscribe to have those delivered directly to your inbox.