This afternoon’s post for the blog series Jesus is Near How Do we draw close comes from Phil Cunningham who is 38 years old, happily married to Amy aithhave 2 girls, Emma 8 and Abby 4. They have another girl due in January. He has worked with Youth WIth A Mission for the past 16 years and has been a follower of Jesus since he was a little boy. His family recently moved to Chula Vista, CA after spending the past 9 years on Seattle. My wife and I recently started a ministry called Steps Of Justice. This is also where we blog. You can find us at: www.stepsofjustice.org/blog; www.philnamy.com
I grew up attending an Evangelical Free church in Winnipeg, Canada. I always liked Christmas time at church, mostly because there was lot’s of other things going on during the service and so the pastors message was always a little shorter. Looking back now I don’t remember very many things about church and Christmas, but I do remember those 5 Advent candles that were lit each week leading up to Christmas day. For some reason that stands out to me.
I don’t have many spiritual practices during this season, but the one that I do have began 4 years ago while reading Celtic Daily Prayer. Each night leading up to Christmas I light a white candle beside my bed and say a quick prayer to the Father. Its a simple prayer that is as follows.
“God of the watching ones, give us Your benediction.
God of the waiting ones, your good word for our souls.
God of the watching ones, the waiting ones, the slow and suffering ones,
Give us Your benediction, Your good word for our souls, that we might rest.
And of the angels in heaven, and of the child in the womb,
Give us Your benediction, Your good word for our souls, that we might rest and rise
In the kindness of Your company.”
I have prayed that prayer many times. It is something that I look forward to throughout the year and get excited about when the time to start draws close. I’m not sure why I love it so much. I think it is because its a way that I get to connect with the father each night before I go to sleep. It’s also because I love the words to the prayer. I love that God’s good word is for our souls and with them we rest and rise in the kindness of His company. There is no other company that I desire to be in that His. I also love this prayer because it is religious. It is something that I do each night and it puts some regular discipline in my life. My kids see me praying it, my wife sees me praying it and they know that it is the season of Advent and that Jesus birth is coming soon.
Advent is a special season for me, one that I look forward to throughout the year and am sad when it is over. Well, it is late, I am going to sign off and say my good night prayers to the Father and go to sleep. Good night all.